Not that there aren't plenty of "entertaining" uses for an iPad -- movies, videos, gaming, reading -- but, still, haven't any programmers at NASA or Roscosmos been working on specialized iPad apps that the crews can use for tapping into the ISS network for things like accessing databases, remotely checking the status of experiment racks, updating cargo manifests, stuff like that? Sounds like that'd be a really excellent way to integrate the pads into ISS workflow management. Well, at least we've got another "2001" prediction come true: space station crewmen using a Newspad, or something like it.
But, what's the deal with the iPhones? I can totally dig having an iPod with me if I were a long-haul ISS crewman, but an iPhone? What the hell would I do with a mobile phone, when the ISS already has a ship-wide intercom network -- unless they're already running some kind of specialized apps on them, or perhaps have them tied into the intercom system?
Hell, for that matter, I'd be surprised if no engineers at NASA or Roscosmos aren't working on a way to repurpose iPhone or iPad hardware to replace the hard-copy "cuff book" checklists that astronauts have strapped to their wrists during EVA work. The things already have a gesture-driven UI; wouldn't they just have to write an app that downloads procedure checklists for a specific EVA so the astronauts can just "flip" through the pages...?