VMware View Client for iPad lets mobile workers use the Apple hardware they love while gaining access to the Microsoft Windows desktop applications that they need.
VMware View Client for iPad opens broad vistas for enterprise users who
want to use an iPad but require access to a Windows desktop. The
no-cost View Client for iPad extends VMware's virtual desktop
to the popular Apple iPad granting users the ability to run Windows
apps without the need to carry a PC.
In my tests, accessing a Windows 7 desktop system via a
first-generation Apple iPad running iOS 4.3 was both responsive and
via touch-based gestures. The VMware View client faithfully represented
the Windows desktop on Apple's iPad hardware (including Flash
The VMware View Client of iPad works over 3G and WiFi connections. My
tests of this first-version release of the View Client for iPad were
confined to using our WiFi network. Future tests will compare
performance when running over 3G networks.
While the View Client for iPad is available at no cost from the Apple
App Store, the underlying VMware View infrastructure is not. In order to
use the View client, your organization will need to first make a
strategic decision to implement a virtual desktop environment where the
Windows client systems are hosted in a data center. For the pros and
cons of using VMware View, please see my review here
IT managers who have a View virtual desktop environment in place will
find it a simple task to integrate iPad users. The existing server and
data center components including the View Connection Server (the server
that brokers connections from users to virtual desktop systems) and the
virtual desktops themselves require no changes. iPad users need only
download the client and then log on to the Connection Server to gain
access to a Windows desktop system.
The View Client for iPad can use VMware's PCoIP remote display and
bandwidth conserving connection protocol. I enabled PCoIP connectivity
for the desktops assigned to my iPad users as the protocol is supported
by default in the View Client for iPad. PCoIP (PC over IP) enabled me to limit the
amount of network bandwidth used by Adobe Flash content to keep Web
On initial install of the View Client for iPad, the user is
presented with a pop-up tutorial about the gestures needed to effectively
use a Windows desktop in the touch-oriented iPad. IT managers should
advise users that they ignore this tutorial at their peril. For
example, the gesture to bring up the virtual keyboard is a three-finger
press. Once learned, the gestures became second nature in my testing.
Using the Windows scroll bars took a bit of getting used to. A finger
press on the bar activates a grabbing action (indicated by a radiating
pale yellow pulse on the screen). Dragging the scroll bar resulted in a
bouncy screen scroll that also sometimes dragged the underlying Windows
desktop around on the iPad screen. For the most part, however,
on-screen navigation including pressing Windows application buttons and
moving the cursor to different screen locations worked well.
While it's possible to add a physical keyboard to the iPad, my tests
made clear that using the View Client for iPad is best suited for
Windows users who are consuming or showing information. Using the
virtual keyboard for extensive typing in a Windows application proved
tiresome and unsatisfying given the smaller overall desktop as Windows
is squeezed onto the 10.1-inch iPad screen.
Printing is an area that I would like to see improved in upcoming
releases of the client. Given that mobile workers are likely to be
using the View Client for iPad at a location other than the home
office, the lack of local printing in this release was frustrating. I
would like to see VMware take advantage of Apple's AirPrint feature to
do just this. Although AirPrint is currently supported by only a small
range of printers, this is better than no printing at all.