Features Will Help iPad Attract Enterprise Users

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-04-05 Print this article Print


5. Collaboration, messaging and more

More employees than ever are using collaboration and messaging tools to communicate with co-workers. Luckily for those folks, the iPad is probably one of the top devices on the market for either function. Once again, it has the App Store to thank for it. After skimming through the App Store, users will find a slew of messaging and collaboration tools designed specifically for enterprise customers. And after using a few of those tools, I can tell you that they work quite well. Part of the iPad's value to the enterprise is its App Store. And thanks to the messaging and collaboration tools available to users in that store, the iPad is a worthwhile corporate device.

6. Typing is actually quite nice

When trying to type a message on the iPhone, it can be difficult, due to the relatively small size of its virtual keyboard. In fact, many folks prefer a physical keyboard over what Apple offers. But on the iPad, the virtual keyboard isn't so troublesome. As long as the user can display content in landscape mode, they should have no trouble typing out a message. I tried typing a couple paragraphs and after a few initial missteps, I quickly got the hang of it and started typing just as I would on a standard keyboard. I should note that it won't replace a standard keyboard on the desktop, but it compares quite well to the small keyboards on netbooks.

7. Accessories are par for the course

For enterprise customers, buying accessories to add functionality to a laptop is standard practice. For most, it means picking up an extra battery, buying portable printers and so on. Due to the iPad's design, users won't be able to replace its battery (which is a problem), but like other Apple products, it will only be a matter of time before a huge selection of accessories hits store shelves to expand its functionality. So while it would be nice to see some basics that enterprise users want, like a removable battery and a USB port, some accessories could solve many of those issues.

8. Security

The biggest concern most companies have is security. It's a constant concern with Windows. But as recent history has shown, the iPhone OS that currently runs on the iPad is actually quite robust. Part of that is due to a relatively small number of malicious hackers attempting to attack it and part of it is due to Apple's design choices. But in either case, IT managers might find a platform that can be trusted with sensitive content. That's nice to know.

9. IT management and restrictions

The iPhone OS has turned out to be a relatively viable enterprise platform. It offers IT managers the option to define network and server configurations. It also provides for security configurations that will help keep data safe. Those provisions aren't nearly as powerful or capable as users will find on Windows, but given the inherent security of iPhone OS compared with Windows, it might appeal to enterprise users. Believe it or not, as its restrictions and security configuration options show, the iPad really is designed with some enterprise customers in mind.

10. It's impressive

The iPad is an all-around impressive device when users see it for the first time. That's something to remember. The iPad won't be nearly as ubiquitous as the iPhone for quite a while. And when it walks through the doors of a client's office, it will undoubtedly get attention. If a company is trying to make it clear to clients that it's a forward-thinking, next-gen company, bringing an iPad to meetings is a great idea. It might seem like a small thing, but most professionals would say that the better they look and they better they communicate, the better their chances of getting the business.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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