Evaluating the iPad as Mobile Device for Enterprise
Many mobile managers, analysts and pundits are predicting that Apple's hottest new handheld, the iPad, will mirror the iPhone in terms of enterprise adoption. In short, whether sanctioned by mobile IT or not, employees are going to use the mobile device in the workplace. Datamation.com takes a look at how enterprise applications will shake out on the iPad. Hype surrounding Apple's long-awaited touch tablet centers on the living room. But are iPads ready for the boardroom? The cubicle? The data center? Whether enterprises are ready for iPads or not, here they come.
Let's dispense right up front with any notion that iPads will be successfully blocked from enterprise use. It's going to happen. Resistance was futile against PCs, laptops, instant messaging, PDAs, personal smart phones (including the iPhone), and it will be futile again for the iPad. The first unauthorized users will be business travelers. Apple probably presold well over a quarter million iPads. How many of those buyers are corporate business travelers? Enterprise frequent fliers will be showing up for work Monday with iPads in hand, and that's when the trouble starts.
Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler predicts that "mobile professionals" -- which make up more than one-quarter of the enterprise workforce -- will use iPads as an "employee-provisioned third device" for all the same reasons consumers will buy them. Specifically: ease of use, extreme portability and an ill-defined "cool factor." It's a pretty safe bet that people who travel on business will use iPads. It's ideal for using on an airplane, and also for meetings and presentations. The real question is: Will ordinary non-mobile employees use it for work as well? Some will definitely try.