The iPhone has answered the call of duty in New York City.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has begun equipping officers with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the New York Daily News is reporting. The officers are being asked to go to an old police academy in Manhattan and swap the Microsoft Lumia devices they’ve been using for Apple’s handsets. The NYPD is deploying iPhones at a rate of 600 units per day, deputy commissioner for information and technology Jessica Tisch told the Daily News.
The NYPD has been relying on Microsoft’s Lumia smartphones for years to do everything from filling out crime reports to evaluating surveillance pictures. However, when Microsoft announced last year that it would stop supporting its Windows Phone 8.1 operating system with new software updates and tweaks, the NYPD was forced to find an alternative. It chose the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus—handsets Apple released in 2016.
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According to the report, the NYPD chose the iPhones for their improved speed and security. The department is allowing officers to choose between the two devices so they can get the screen size of their choosing. (Apple’s iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch screen and the iPhone 7 Plus has a 5.5-inch display.)
The police will generally be able to access all the same information they could on the Microsoft devices, but will be doing so in a completely different software environment in iOS. Either way, the phones have proven exceedingly important to police work and can often times get officers information far more quickly than legacy systems like radios. It’s also possible for the NYPD to pass to officer iPhones more relevant information about the environment they’re stepping into, including whether people living at a building are felons or if there’s a history or emotional disturbance.
Officers are also able to use third-party apps with the iPhones to help them in their work. One officer described using Google’s Waze navigation app to get around the city more quickly.