The US Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating Apple as a potential supplier of mobile computing devices for its staff, reports “Bloomberg” (

The Department is exploring security systems that would permit employees to use as many as 100,000 mobile devices, including the iPad “without endangering the privacy of sensitive information,” the article adds. VA officials are researching “mobile device management” services that will protect e-mail and control access to agency computer networks for people using smartphones and tablet computers, Roger Baker, the agency’s chief information officer, told “Bloomberg” via email.

The VA’s decision may open a new market for Apple, which has until now lagged behind competitors Deal and RIM in selling technology to the government. The VA is looking for technology that would allow its employees to use as many as 100,000 iPads and iPhones within 18 months, including a mix of government-owned and personal mobile devices, Jo Schuda, a VA spokeswoman, told “Bloomberg.”