The BlackBerry Z10 may be launching at the end of the week, but that hasn't stopped the U.S. military from seeking alternative devices and potentially exiting as one of BlackBerry's largest customers.
Electronista reports that as part of the mobile device testing program at the U.S. Department of Defense, 650,000 Apple devices will be ordered.
Based on the publication's "well-placed sources," once the government's sequester is over, the DoD will be ordering 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod touches and approximately 210,000 iPhones, although specific models "were not shared."
Most of these devices will find themselves "headed to the battlefield, afloat, and to associated support commands," and approximately half will be used at the Pentagon. Almost half a million old BlackBerry models are currently in use within the department, but as there is no backwards compatibility with the BlackBerry 10, the iOS devices are intended to replace these models.
Since these BlackBerry devices would have to be replaced eventually anyway, perhaps it is the case that the Department of Defense is willing to move to an older and more tested OS to save money and time — especially as Electronista's sources say that "some of the needs can't wait" — which would further push military officials to switch their preferred mobile devices. In addition, it has been suggested that the BlackBerry 10 was scrapped off the testing list as part of cutbacks, and therefore the BlackBerry 10 operating system couldn't go through the necessary security checks.
Recently, reports that BlackBerry's new BlackBerry 10 operating system failed to gain security clearance for U.K. government use were exposed as inaccurate, according to the government department responsible for issuing the certification.
Update 18.03gmt: A U.S. Department of Defense spokesman has said that BlackBerry is still part of ongoing DoD mobile tests.