Love Apple or hate the company, one must admit that its products are functional, practical, easy to use and definitely stylish. Apple is cool.
A few weeks back, Apple launched the iPad. Like several people, I had initially considered the iPad to be “just a large iPhone without the phone”. However, I had a change of mind after playing around with one at the Apple Store in Seattle. Yes, it is an iPhone without the phone component, but the 9.7” display makes it a more purposeful tool for a variety of activities. The all new iPad has potential business use and that’s what I will be talking about in this blog entry. Oh, talking about Apple, their all new iPhone 4 is so tempting that I have decided to dump my boring Blackberry and move to the iPhone 4 as soon as it becomes available in Canada. It presents way more potential than the Blackberry. For me, the Blackberry device is very yesterday.
Organizations are beginning to see potential business use for the iPad. I am aware of a few Calgary-based oil and gas corporations that are in the process of evaluating the iPad’s potential of becoming a business tool. There have also been reports in the media about organizations in Asia and the United States that are considering the iPad for business use. For some business types, the iPad is a sine qua non -- a must-have. For some corporate executives, it has the potential to be a laptop replacement. For others, may be it will just be a nice-to-have.
The iPad can be a laptop replacement for corporate and sales executives who need a mobile device to read and send emails, connect to the corporate network remotely, browse the web when on the road, and watch some Youtube or iTune movies when relaxing in their hotel rooms or waiting to catch a flight. 3G versions of the iPad also provide users with always-on network connectivity. The iPad can also be used for brainstorming exercises, making presentations, and taking notes at meetings, as well as being a whiteboard. It is the ultra portable; it brings computing to your finger tips. Security on the iPad is just as well thought out as what obtains on most laptops...remote wipe, data encryption, secure network communication, etc. For this category of users, the total cost of ownership for the iPad is significantly lower than a traditional laptop. It can provide organizations with significant cost savings - something in the neighbourhood of 25% to 40%.
Technology providers have released applications for the iPad that allow business users to perform activities that were previously done on laptops and PCs. For example, Citrix Receiver makes it possible for users to take a virtual office with them anywhere they go by providing secure access to all of their corporate applications and documents. Cisco’s VPN software allows businesses to extend their corporate network to the iPad user. Penultimate exists for note taking. iWorks...the Microsoft Office equivalent also exists for the iPad.
The iPad is also the perfect tool for florists, interior decorators, photographers and videographers. It provides an awesome ultra-portable platform for these businesses to display their work to clients. Graphics on the screen are brilliant, crisp and vivid. Pictures actually appear to look better on the iPad than they are when printed. The first website that I checked on the iPad was my photography blog (at www.skills4ever.com/blog)...and boy, what I saw wowed me. The images were as good as what my Apple MacBook Pro would render.
Other users for the iPad include doctors as they move from one patient room to the other, and teachers who will use the iPad as they lecture. Politicians are also liking, em actually loving, the iPad. The Globe and Mail recently published a story about Stockwell Day, a Canadian MP, loving his iPad.
Technology in the business place is starting to change. Traditional business tools will give way to the new computing platform. The technology landscape at work will be very different in the next 5 years from what it is today. Corporate organizations need to become ready for this change. The iPad is the start of this revolution.