Analysts Discuss Viability of iPad in the Enterprise
Independent analyst Jack Gold said that businesses will look at utilizing the iPad because it works well as a browser interface for cloud-based applications. "But to say 84 percent of businesses will allow iPad use is not the same as saying 84 percent of businesses endorse the iPad in large deployments for specific applications," Gold told eWEEK. "If you look at iPad as a large cell phone, then sure they will hook up ActiveSync to enable e-mail. That may be a corporate app, but it's different than mobilizing current apps that run the business. So I am skeptical about what this statistic really means.""What's interesting here is that the number of business applications on iPad is more diverse than I would have first expected," Schadler told eWEEK. "With a Bluetooth keyboard and with the ability to delivery presentations, this becomes a decent executive presentation tool, as long as you have charts in Keynote format. Expect a rash of PowerPoint-to-Keynote conversation applications to come to an iMac near you any day now." Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said her firm has found anecdotal evidence that that corporations are looking at iPads for sales forces as a replacement for laptops. "iPhone OS4 [now known as iOS 4] and the improvements to security will accelerate this even further." Milanesi's colleague, Gartner analyst Leslie Fiering, added that the iPad will excel for sales workers whose jobs entail displaying and sharing presentations with customers. Fiering added this caveat: "When the need for content creation and format fidelity (the ability to reproduce the exact same formatting, templates and spreadsheet formulae for enterprise documents) is high, an iPad is not going to suffice as the primary computing device. This applies to the majority of mainstream knowledge workers." Of course, businesses will curb their enthusiasm in the wake of the recent security breach even if the attack vector was an insecure Web server at AT&T. Goatse's security researchers used a script on AT&T's Website to get an AT&T Web server to cough up details of the e-mail addresses.
Though he called Citrix's reports super-biased samplings, Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler said businesses are very interested in iPads because they've already done the due diligence on the iPhone and in many industries found it to be just fine for basic business applications like e-mail and Web apps.