Apple is apparently the apple of the eyes of Australian flag carrier, Qantas. Within the same week, Qantas announced shifts to two major Apple devices.
The new iPad was announced on March.
On Friday, Qantas said it will provide all passengers aboard its Boeing 767 jets iPads for their entertainment. Two days earlier, the airline announced it will ditch the BlackBerry phones it issued to Qantas employees in favour of the iPhone.
The iPads will be deployed free of charges to business and economy travelers beginning fourth quarter of 2012. The tablet computers would make available to users up to 200 hours of on-demand entertainment through a lock-in arrangement with the QStreaming system.
The 767 jets mostly fly domestic east coast routes and trips to Perth. It has no backseat screen. The 767s, though, would be eventually phased out as A330 aircraft start to arrive in 2013.
"Our customers were the first in the world to experience the ground-breaking WiFi entertainment technology and we received great feedback from our customers during the trial this year," a Qantas spokesman said in a statement.
Qantas choice of Apple products indicates the intense rivalry of the flag carrier with Virgin Australia, which will also offer tablet computers to its passengers. The competition mirrors the intense battle between Apple and Samsung since Virgin tapped the South Korean tech firm to provide it with Galaxy tablets which will be available for free for use of business class passengers aboard Virgin's Boeing 737 and Embraer E190 jets by April 2013. However, Virgin would charge economy class passengers a fee for the use of the Galaxy tablets.
Jetstar, Qantas's budget carrier, was actually ahead by offering pre-loaded iPads to passengers since late 2011. The iPads, however, must be pre-booked or rented on board for $10 to $15.
Besides Qantas passengers, the air carrier's pilots will also use iPads not to watch movies but to serve as their inflight reference manuals in lieu of the bulky paper manuals.
In late 2011, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration allowed American Airlines pilots to use iPads inside the cockpit instead of paper manuals. However, the FAA kept the ban on the use of tablet computers for passengers.
While air carriers battle for the shrinking aviation market, tech firms are also fighting a larger share of the tech consumer market, both on the ground and 30,000 feet up in the skies.
Steve Jobs must be smiling at the thought that Qantas has opted to side with Apple in the American tech firm's battle with its South Korean rival, which is also being waged in courthouses in different parts of the globe.
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