Mac Attack

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Apple's Cinema display

Apple computers tend to cost a good deal more than their PC counterparts. But when duty calls, the Army salutes. That’s why it recently issued a so-called Simplified Acquisition Justification for Restrictive Competition. You parents of whiny teen-agers know the drill: “Macs are the only cool computer there is,” the youngster will insist to the parent. “All the other kids have them.”

An Army official reports that Apple’s Mac computers are the only ones that fit the bill. And quite a bill it is – an “Apple Mac Pro Desktop CPU” plus Apple’s biggest “27-inch Cinema display.”

The loaded computer probably would cost a civilian at least $3,000, plus another grand for the display (although that specific model no longer appears available on Apple’s website; the Pentagon is no doubt buying through a middleman and perhaps – dare we say it – getting a better price than you or I might be able to). And here’s the best part: the Army also needs to buy the “3-year Applecare protection plan” – you know, that secret 800 number you can call when your Mac keeps crashing. That’s $249, for civilians.

“Mac workstations are used extensively by Army Graphics to directly support the senior army leadership (HQDA [Headquarters, Department of the Army]) in the Pentagon,” the justification reads. Guess that’s why Army briefings always look so good (this item, in fact, is being written on a Mac). Presume recent war plans were put together on PCs.