Samsung and BlackBerry may have beaten it to the punch, but Apple has now secured U.S. Department of Defense certification for iPhones and iPads running iOS 6 (and even the iPod touch).The U.S. military has been experimenting with iPhones and iPods for years, and the DOD. cert clears the way for more widespread government use. Around 40,000 staff had been given iPads and iPhones as part of a pilot program, and there are 600,000 users in total within the Department.BlackBerry once ruled the secure mobile device space, but the market has shifted in recent times. At the DOD., nearly half a million users are currently using BlackBerry devices. That could change dramatically now that both Apple and Samsung have received certification. It’s now a three-way brawl between the world’s top two smartphone sellers and the former undisputed champion.Sure, selling tens of thousands of devices to one of the largest U.S. government departments would be a nice win for Apple or Samsung. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, really.DOD. certification is another important step in altering perceptions about secure smartphones. As the Department’s staff and its contractors move to devices like the iPhone and Galaxy S4, word will eventually trickle down to the general public.Device security isn’t necessarily a primary concern for the majority of smartphone shoppers, but it’s becoming more and more important all the time. And if you’ve got concerns about whether your shiny smartphone is properly protecting your digital wallet and all the personal data it’s carrying, wouldn’t you feel better buying something that the Pentagon has signed off on?