Apple's new iPad in the enterprise
Laptop replacement gets closer
Published 17:09, 08 March 12
- 21 percent of all employees globally use at least one Apple device, while 11 percent use a tablet.
- 65 percent of all touchscreen tablets in use at work in the US today are iPads.
- More than 70 million information workers in the US and Europe will be tucking tablets into their work bag by 2016.
- How do I get business applications onto the tablet? With 11 percent of employees globally using tablets today, developers have powerful incentives to port business apps to touchscreen tablets. Already developers have built 200,000 apps for iPad. With a faster network connection and more power in the touchscreen interface, the new iPad can take on more business workloads: graphics, video, browser apps. And some of that network speed and graphics power will be diverted to translate keyboard/mouse applications to even better virtual machine interfaces from Citrix, VMWare, and others.
Further, every systems integrator is building mobile interfaces to SAP applications to handle the needs of field sales, executives in meetings, and normal Joes like us. The list of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and software vendors delivering touchscreen business apps is also rapidly expanding and ready to take advantage of the faster network. Cisco WebEx is moving into two-way video; QuickOffice is ramping up its spreadsheet program; Adobe Illustrator is unleashed with gestures; even Microsoft is running OneNote on iPad with panache; and salesforce.com is enhancing its touch interface. And new-generation mobile engagement vendors such as Appian and appsFreedom are handling the refacing and last-mile wireless delivery of business apps to tablets. In short, iPads are accumulating business apps at breakneck pace.
- Which employees can use tablets instead of laptops? This is the hottest question among cost-conscious CIOs. The answer is simple: executives and sales reps can use tablets instead of laptops today. All others, especially heads-down content creators, will still need a dedicated computer or access to a computer. But even these people are time-shifting toward tablets. Already, US employees with smartphones or tablets do 26% of their work email on them. While the new iPad, with its powerful chipset, beautiful screen, 10-hour battery life, instant on, and fast network-seeking smarts, makes the post-laptop experience better, I predict the big laptop replacement breakthrough could come in the fall when Apple has the opportunity to upgrade the OS to handle touchpad accessories. (Apple should logically do this because it would advance its convergence strategy to simplify and unify the experience across all Apple devices, services, and ecosystems.)
- How do I support tablets while protecting my company's policies? The new iPad will have a better answer to this question as well. Why? Because the security mechanisms of partitioning the tablet, running a snappy browser over a 4G network, or sandboxing each business app with its own end-to-end safe zone will just work better with a faster network and more powerful hardware. There's much work to do on the part of your security and network operations teams, but the ultimate way to operate tablets safely is to protect data end-to-end with a redesign of the security and access architecture. Vendors like MobileIron and Airwatch can help.