Even the simple "CTRL F" word search function, for example, is a huge time saver, something that could be crucial in an emergency. "Say that you have an engine problem or an engine fire over the North Atlantic," said Moritz. "Having a device that you can use the search function and quickly pick out key words will drive you to a deeper level while you're pushed for time."

Like any electronic device used by the military, security is of paramount importance. "The camera and the Wi-Fi are turned off unless the device is in a pre-determined, undisclosed location where its OS certificates can be updated," said Jeff Shields, advanced technologies branch chief in AMC's Communications Directorate. "They are allowed to enable that wireless for a minimal pre-determined amount of time -- we coordinated long and hard to develop some pretty clear guidance documentation that went out to all units."

Clearly, the EFB trend is taking off. The Air Force's Global Strike Command, for example, recently advertised for a contractor to supply 700 to 1,000 EFB application licenses.

Apple sold 19.5 million iPads during its recent fiscal second quarter, up from 11.8 million in the year-ago quarter.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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