Last month we were first with the news that Wrexham’s councillors were due to be given iPad devices to help cut some of the £36,000 yearly printing costs.
As with most gadgets we were keen to get our hands on one to play with and see what the setup is. Kindly one anonymous councillor and Wrexham.com reader popped into our new posh offices (same building, nicer rooms!) on Yorke Street to let us have a fiddle.
The iPad was a wifi only iPad 2 16 gigabyte model with 11 applications installed – currently retailing at £329 to the public. Cases which protect and hold up the iPad’s are included in the pack for our local representatives – however they did seem quite fiddly compared to some on the market.
We dont feel there is much point in ‘reviewing’ an iPad as they are essentially an iPad. What we wanted to know was how secure they are, how locked down, and who’s iTunes account they are set up with!
The iPad’s themselves are protected by a normal security code, which needs to be entered correctly before they can be used. Once authorised a normal home screen shows up, with specific apps providing secure access to email and documents.
The only way to spot a council iPad is the identity tag sticker on the rear of the device.
In terms of locking the device down, the normal apps were on the homescreens and the settings plus others including the app store in a subfolder. On opening the app store we were pleased to see that the username attached to the account was firstname.lastname@example.org – so directly linked to the councillor.
This was however news to the councillor so technically it doesnt sound like they know they are now under Apples’ terms and conditions – but the principle does seem sensible! Likewise the councillor was not aware of his (or her!) password so it was not possible to install any new apps – free or paid for.
Overall it seemed a sensible method of deployment, and hopefully the longer the councillors use the devices more uses will come to light. This particular councillor is now aware of ‘Facetime’ so hopefully will be video conferencing his or her fellow iPaders!
The news that iPads were to be given out raised 33 posts in our forums – so hopefully this insight will give further information to the council tax payers of the town to see what they got for their money. You can join in the debate by clicking here!