Angela, Arnold, and the iPad

Nearly all members (631) of the German parliament use iPads even when joining full sessions. Only devices without fan and keyboard are allowed in the plenary, speeches are allowed to be read from a tablet.

Early beginnings in 2010 …

It’s been called the “Jesus Tablet,” the “iGod,” and more than two million of them have been sold already, but don’t try to bring your iPad along with you to Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag.

Jimmy Schulz, a member of parliament with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), drew criticism this week after using his new iPad during a speech before the Bundestag. “One of the presidents of the Bundestag told me that the iPad usage had violated policies,” Schulz told the Berliner Kurier newspaper.

Schulz had been the first member of parliament to eschew pen and paper and instead use an iPad as the cue card for his talking points. The issue is to be taken up by the Bundestag’s Committee on the Rules of Procedure, a parliament spokesperson told the newspaper.

Germany’s Bundestag has a blanket ban on the use of computers by anyone but journalists inside the parliamentary plenary hall, where traditional, memorized rhetoric is the preferred method of speech-giving.

But 41-year-old Schulz would like to see the Bundestag get wired. “The age of the telefax and telex has passed,” he told the newspaper, taking a swipe at parliament’s Luddite rules. “The Bundestag also needs to open itself up to new media.” The FDP’s parliamentary group is pushing for permission to use digital files in Germany’s legislative body.

“It is not acceptable that we have to continue schlepping mountains of files around with us,” Schulz said.

(Source Spiegel, 2010)

Rules of procedure were changed after MP Jimmy Schultz made his first speech in the plenary hall with an iPad in 2010. 

Angela goes Hollywood …

It was Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of US state California, who donated an iPad to Dr. Angela Merkel, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, in April 2010, shortly after the initial launch of Steve Jobs masterpiece. She studied physics and in many cases this goes along with becoming a tech nerd.

And there’s even more …

Doesn’t the German parliament look as futuristic as Apple’s spaceship?

Other countries …

According to Kenya’s Standard Digital News, the government has purchased 450 iPads; and, due to the higher cost of electronics in the country, that will add up to somewhere around $350,000. Each tablet ranges in cost from 55,000 Kenyan shillings (~$640) to 70,000 shillings (~$815). That is a fairly high cost for the devices, but Kenya’s GDP has been skyrocketing recently. In 1993, it was a mere $5.75 billion, by 1999 it was up to $14.09 billion, and as of 2012 it had hit $37.23 billion. And, giving members of government iPads will seriously cut down printing costs of course. 

Apps not only for MPs …

There are many apps available at Apple’s App Store referring to work of politicians in parliaments. Here is just one example:

My Constituency – UK Parliament

There are 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the UK House of Commons. Each MP is elected by voters in 650 constituency areas. CurrentLy 533 constituencies in England, 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern ireland.

The ‘My Constituency’ iPad app has been created in the House of Commons Library to display key statistics for each constituency area. These include election results, unemployment, youth unemployment and population, in this version new datasets have been added and improvements to the dispLays have been made.

Other apps are Bundestag (Germany), Swiss Parl, Governing Australia, Parliament of Mongolia, Parliament of Singapore, Parliament of South Africa, etc.

Reducing costs …

A UK government experiment with iPads has resulted in major cost savings and an enthusiastic adoption of the tablets by politicians, the head of IT in parliament has said.

Politicians have been using the tablets to store notes for debates as part of a year-long experiment that began in spring 2011. 

“We’ve been looking at the investment cost of iPads versus printing, and we’re coming up with a good story,” Miller, head of Parliamentary ICT (PICT), told the audience in London. “Even if I replace iPads twice a year, it’s cheaper than our encrypted laptops.”

Finally …

As you can see it’s not only the business sector, the educational sector, the health care sector, schools and universities, etc. where iPads are the preferred devices.

The well-known slogans of Apple 

There’s something in the air.
State-of-the-art meets state-of-the-art.
Redesigned. Reengineered, Re-everythinged.

regarding the MacBook Air could be easily re-activated for the new iPad Air.

Related links …

About the iPad
iPad @ Universities

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