Re: Using toys as tools...
@ James Micallef
First of all, nothing about iOS devices is "personal use". iOS devices are probably the most secure mobile devices currently available (though QNX might be better, Blackberry as a company is thoroughly compromised and cannot be trusted. No QNX mobiles are available without Blackberry intercepting everything.) iOS were crap for enterprise management. This is simply no longer true, and they are excellent enterprise devices for the few use cases where a mobile device is required.
"If they're using it as a pre-flight data input, not necessary. If needed and essential through all the flight, there should be backup, whether it's an extra charger or extra device. Manufacturer / OS is irrelevant"
How is a battery life that lasts an entire trans-pacific flight not a backup? And how do you know that even if the charger is available the electrical system/outlet/whatever will be online and able to power it? I think it makes a lot more sense to stick with the device that lasts as long as it is needed.
"I'm sure there are plenty of developers for both iOS and Windows"
I'm not. Not for apps that require touch input. Certainly the balance of good ones isn't on the side of Windows. Why don't you try actually hiring some and see how that goes for you. iOS developers that can make good UIs are cheep and cheerful. Windows? Not so much.
"AFAIK Windows Surface devices are pretty stable and can be set up to not auto-update, and would be so set up as a corporate device. As I pointed out in the beginning, if it's a personal device that's an automatic fail anyway."
Except this isn't true. Microsoft says that this is possible. Microsoft can't be trusted to tell the truth because they have broken trust by violating the sanctity of the update mechanism. You don't bet lives on a company saying "trust us". You analyze the actions of the company. And those actions say that they cannot be trusted.
Enterprise management for iOS, however, has moved from strength to strength over the years, and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to doubt patch management processes in iOS. Doubt the patches, fine. There have been some shit patches. But Apple has kept the fail on the patch system. Microsoft hasn't. Simple as that.
"They need a device which will work with $external_device or $external_interface; in the mobile world, that always means iOS support.
Well, I'm starting from the assumption that they use this device for more than simply inputting flight data. My guess is that it is the interface to any number of computers that don't have keyboards and screens. Mostly because there physically isn't any room in the cockpit to put one for every single system, especially on jets that have been overhauled at least once, and whose computers have multiplied since the original design.
If this is the case, then as the input device of choice it probably hooks up to various diagnostic tools and sensors. I've seen iPads used on planes as the back end for ticket readers, amongst other things. I've had people examine my passport (along with my tickets) when moved up to first class. I imagine the iPads onboard might get pressed into similar service.
if not, hey, bonus. But "if you build it they will come". Hell, taxi cabs as festooned with any number of devices (up to and including fingerprint readers) that back on to iOS. It is not exactly a stretch of the imagination to think that some (or even many) of these items might get pressed into service in an airplane. Especially when space is at such an absolutely premium in a cockpit, and iPads (along with their accessory ecosystem) are designed to be small.
"They need a device that anyone can use over the course of generations without retraining.
That's as valid for Windows as it is for iOS"
iOS hasn't gone through a bunch of radical changes in UI. Nor are those changes forced on users. Nor is there even a the barest hint of a question of a trust issue with iOS that settings to deny major upgrades will be overridden and you'll end up in the shit against your will. While it is certainly possible that Apple could change the interface dramatically in the next release, this isn't probable. That cannot be said of Microsoft. They have proven this is not something about which they care.
"Surely the important thing is that the App and/or program has a consistent interface, not so much the device?"
Are you using it as a single use device with only one application? In a cockpit where space is at an absolute premium? How do you get to that application? Does the thing always have it up? Boot into it? What happens if the application crashes?
You know what? Excepting under pretty special circumstances (typically embedded systems where the critical bits are in ROM and it will, guaranteed, always boot up the same way, into your application), the device UI does actually matter.
Now, if you want to point me at an iPad-like mobile device running an embedded OS that has all the bits required to make great touchscreen apps (including the developer and gadget ecosystems), then by all means, that's way the hell better. (Oh, QNX, what you could have been. If only Blackberry didn't sell everything we did to any government who asked.)
But that device isn't a Surface.
"Bottom line, this has NOTHING to do with the device and EVERYTHING to do with incorrect procedures (no double-checking of the inputs) and human error."
Yes and no.
It is absolutely correct that procedures exist to check this sort of data. I agree with that 100%.
What I don't agree with is that "any device will do". There are devices that would make this fairly crappy situation worse. Devices running Windows are among them.
The iPad and iOS isn't the perfect device. Not by a long shot. But it's the least shit of the available options for this requirement set.