New Zealand police choose iOS over Android in tech push, to distribute 10,000 iPhones and iPads

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The New Zealand police department will be rolling out 10,000 iOS devices to frontline officers within the next few months as part of a new technology overhaul, with the force opting to go with Apple's iPhones and iPads after testing a rage of platforms.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Prime Minister John Key and Police Minister Anne Tolley said 6,000 frontline police will be receiving an iPhone as part of the initiative, 3,900 of whom will also get an iPad, reports New Zealand publication The National Business Review. The move to Apple's iOS comes as the department shifts communications providers from Telecom to Vodafone.

Police will spend NZ$4.3 million, or about US$3.65 million, to roll out the program over a three month period, while total funding will cost NZ$159 million, or about US$134.7 million, over the next ten years. The investment is said to bring in productivity benefits of NZ$305 million, roughly US$258.5 million, during the ten-year span.

According to New Zealand Police Chief Information Officer Stephen Crombie, the decision to go with iOS instead of Google's Android or BlackBerry was the result of an 11-month trial period involving 100 officers.

"The trial showed the most useful tools for officers were small personal devices for making phone calls or text messaging, accessing email, and accessing information and photo databases, and a larger such as a laptop or tablet for staff who need to do more data entry," Crombie said. "Based on frontline officer feedback from the trial the preferred devices are the iPhone as smartphone and iPad for the tablet. The approach used to develop the applications means Police can move to other devices with relative ease as technology changes."

Wednesday's news comes on the heels of a recent report that noted Australia's Treasury Department will be moving to iOS from BlackBerry. An increasing number of government bodies and enterprise customers are making the switch to Apple's platform, including U.S. agencies like NASA, NOAA, and the TSA.