Defense Department, tech

iPod Touch, iPhone Break, iGo Ballistic

The Rat has a well-established level of techno-lust.  So it is a monument to his level of self control that he has not previously been the owner of an iPod Touch or iPhone. Well, either his self control, or the fact that he is invariably infuriated by their user interface.As a Crackberry user, the Rat prefers the tactile feedback of chicklets pressing under his…well, I guess for a lack of a better term, we’ll call them “fingertips”.  And in early testing, the cyberodent determined that trying to use the touch-sensitive screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch would drive him out of his fuzzy mind.

His wife and eldest ratling, however, have been iPhonatics  since early on.  His wife purchased (thankfully) a reconditioned first-generation iPhone some time ago, and his son, sporting hot fresh cash from a lucrative summer job, begged incessantly for weeks before Mrs. Rat went and stood in the hour-long line at the local Apple Store to procure him one of the second generation iPhones a few months ago. That left his less-than-year-old iPod Touch–with some heavy wear–up for grabs.

 So, Ratling Number 1 re-gifted it to his father as a birthday/late Father’s day/early Christmas present. The whiskered one has found it ideal for stealthily checking his email from the living room while allegedly listening to books on tape. 

Naturally, just a few days later, the eldest offspring dropped his iPhone, and cracked its screen.  A quick call to Apple confirmed that it would cost $250 to repair the phone, which was more than the AT&T “subsidized” price it was originally purchased for.  So, now the Rat is spending his spare time watching iPhone repair videos and tracking down a replacement iPhone 3G glass front.  Unless someone would like to make a donation…

“And would you believe the Army is interested in iPhones?” the cyberodent whined.  “Sure, they have nice high-rez graphics. But they aren’t exactly what I’d call military-grade ruggedized.”

Ironically, Apple–which has hardly ever been known for its close relationship with the military, despite a loyal Mac following in the Army–now finds itself in the odd position of being in the munitions business.  As the New York Times’ Ashlee Vance reports, PA Semi– the ARM processor manufacturer that Apple purchased and now has tasked with developing new iPod processors– is also now on tap to provide similar processors for missiles, avionics and sensors for defense applications.

“So maybe soon you’ll be able to buy a Predator flight control system through the Apple Apps Store,” the Rat told his sulking son.  “Just don’t drop your phone while flying it.”   

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