Apple’s iPad is obviously successful in the consumer space, but according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, the tablet is also being adopted quite heavily in the corporate world. The publication cited several companies that are planning to make use of iPads to hopefully boost employee productivity and mobility.
As more companies bring the iPad to their operations, a significant shift in the way the corporate world operates will likely ensue. For now, adoption of tablets is slow. But the floodgates seem to be opening and, soon enough, IT staff will be forced to deal with a new technology and the good and bad that come with it. Here are some ways that Apple’s iPad will change the corporate world.
1. The arms race begins
As the iPad starts making its way into more companies, expect several competing tablets to follow. The corporate world is an extremely viable source of serious cash. Most vendors don’t want to give that up. By the end of 2010, the tablet space could be extremely crowded.
2. More security concerns
As with any new technology, businesses will undoubtedly have more security concerns once the iPad fully arrives in the enterprise. Hackers will see the iPad as another way to access corporate content. And IT managers will need to determine where those hackers will be most likely to get in and secure those areas. It won’t be easy, but thanks to Apple’s addition of remote wipe and some new administrative tools, companies should be able to safeguard themselves relatively effectively.
3. Expect more monitoring
The iPad will force IT staff to do more monitoring of employees. And, unfortunately, because the device runs on iOS and is mobile, keeping close tabs on users won’t be as easy as it is with Windows-based products. Regardless, it needs to be done. And it’s something that companies that have yet to bring iPads into their operations need to start thinking about.
4. Who needs an iPhone?
Apple’s iPhone has been slowly gaining some traction in the corporate world. But when the iPad starts being adopted by more companies, it’s possible that those companies will opt against also using Apple’s smartphone. After all, the iPhone isn’t as corporate-friendly as a BlackBerry and Apple’s iPad boasts many of the same features as the iPhone 4. In some cases, expect companies to choose the iPad over the iPhone.
The Test of Success: Increasing Productivity
5. The good and bad of the App Store
Part of the reason why companies are starting to adopt the iPad is Apple’s App Store. There are currently hundreds of enterprise-focused apps available in the marketplace that should help employee productivity. But there is also a downside to the App Store. The marketplace is filled with games, entertainment apps and other content that might distract employees. Plus, if malicious apps are downloaded, malware could eventually break through. Companies should keep a close eye on employee downloading habits.
6. Netbooks will lose out
Prior to the release of the iPad, netbooks were all the rage in the corporate world. They offered mobility at a low price. They were ideal for most organizations. But with the iPad now starting to become a major player in the corporate world, netbooks will likely lose ground.
7. Notebooks might even lose
It’s highly likely that netbooks will lose significance in the enterprise, but it’s possible that notebooks also will lose their value to corporate customers. For some companies, providing employees with a lightweight tablet is sufficient. And with a starting price of $499, the iPad is arguably a better value than a cheap notebook. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every business will opt for an iPad over a notebook. But there is a real chance that the tablet’s sales will hurt notebook sales to some degree.
8. It’ll be big until the Cisco Cius arrives
The iPad might be appealing to companies now, but it should be interesting to see if it still attracts corporate customers when the Cisco Cius is released. The Android-based Cius will integrate with existing Cisco infrastructure. Along with tablet functionality, it will also double as a video conferencing device with Cisco phones. Plus, it will come with access to the Android Market as a counterpart to Apple’s App Store. The Cius arguably has the best chance of supplanting the iPad in the corporate space.
9. Companies might think twice about Android smartphones
Speaking of Android, it’s possible that if companies like what they find in the iPad, they will opt against Android smartphones. Currently, the corporate world is deciding if the mobile device of choice is an iPhone, an Android-based device or a BlackBerry. Ideally, companies would like to keep the BlackBerry because of its enterprise integration. They would also like, however, to get the functionality of next-generation devices such as the iPhone 4 or Android smartphones. If the iPad satisfies that desire, it’s likely that Android won’t be infiltrating the corporate world in any significant way.
10. Productivity should increase
If the iPad is anything, it’s a fine mobile productivity tool. It’s lightweight enough to stick in a bag for business trips, while being useful enough to make users productive no matter where they are. As a result, companies should see an increase in productivity from their workers. Workers will be able to get tasks done at home, on the road or just about anywhere else. The iPad extends the workday and helps companies get more for less.