In what is believed to be one of the biggest rollouts of the iPad in the UK, Barclays Bank is to outfit its staff with more than 8,500 units of the Apple tablet in an effort to improve service levels, The Register reveals.

A Barclays spokesperson confirmed that it was bank employees that demanded the iPad, allowing them “to assist our branch colleagues to interact with customers, improving the customer experience”.

“We investigated a number of different tablet options and in this instance, we concluded that iPads were the best solution for their specific needs. We are now starting to use these across Barclays branches in the UK,” she added.

Despite the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system — which is positioned as a more enterprise-friendly platform and capable of supporting USB devices and other peripherals and has seen airlines including Emirates buy 1,000 HP tablets running the OS for use on its aircraft — the bank bought 8,500 iPads in one order.

It intends to utilise an app called Mortgage Brain, which was created and is owned by six banks including Barclays, RBS, Virgin Money, Santander, Lloyds TSB and Nationwide.

There’s no word on which model of iPad the bank purchased but even if the company purchased the cheapest iPad — the mini — then it would have cost over £2 million (based on standard retail prices). However, the company purchased the Apple devices via dealer Insight UK, possibly receiving a discount.

The IT supplier independently confirmed that it was seeing “significant interest in the take up of Apple iPads in large enterprise.”

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