Whether Apple plans to release an Apple tablet is still unknown. But as the rumors start piling up, it seems increasingly more likely that it will happen. We just don’t know when. We also don’t know exactly what the tablet would offer. At this point, it’s all speculation.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t consider the impact the device will have. If Apple does release a tablet, there are some basic features that we can expect to see in any tablet design on the market.. These include a touch screen and software that will give users the opportunity to check e-mail, surf the Web and use applications.
One are where speculation about the Apple tablet has been lacking is that everyone seems to focus on consumers. Sure, a tablet might appeal most to consumers, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t also appeal to corporate customers. Quite the contrary. After all, enterprise users are increasingly accessing the Web through simple, less powerful machines like netbooks. To me, an Apple tablet seems well suited to serve this trend..
Simply put, a tablet could significantly help Apple in the enterprise. Here’s why:
1. Look at netbooks
A few years ago, who would have believed that underpowered, small notebook computers would have been able to make any headway in the enterprise? It’s historically a space where power and productivity reign supreme. But the netbook changed that. Now, companies are just fine with giving employees netbooks to do their work. It might not mean that they can access high-powered software, but they can surf the Web, check e-mail and edit important documents without much trouble. Plus, they can be connected to the Web anywhere with the help of a 3G connection. How would Apple’s tablet be any different?
2. Consider the cloud
Now more than ever, companies are moving to the cloud. They realize the value of using applications that are available via the Web rather than those that are stuck on a computer’s desktop. Since the Apple tablet’s power will undoubtedly fail to compare with that of the many notebooks Apple offers, it will probably be ideally suited for Web use. That means companies that want employees to access the Web to get work done won’t have any problems with Apple’s tablet. It also ensures that a major barrier-the lack of Windows-won’t come into play.
3. Remember the apps
Apple’s Trojan horse in the touch-computing space is quickly becoming its applications. The company currently has over 85,000 applications designed for everyone from gamers to professionals. And thanks to those apps, many more companies are seeing the value of switching to the iPhone. There’s no reason to suggest that the Apple tablet won’t include some integration of those apps. Thanks to app support, companies will find quite a bit of use in the many enterprise applications in Apple’s store.
The Formula for an Apple Tablet to Succeed in the Enterprise
4. Tablets are useful
Say what you will about some of the tablets of the past, but for many companies (especially health organizations), tablets are really useful. They make gaining access to important information intuitive. And they are generally simple to get up and running. If Apple follows those trends with its own tablet, I think many companies will see it for what it is: a device that makes simple computing more intuitive.
5. The enterprise doesn’t hate Apple
Although most companies are currently running Windows, Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system changed the perception of Apple in the enterprise. Gone are the days of organizations not even considering Apple when they made software or hardware decisions. Today, more companies than ever are wondering if a move to the Apple ecosystem is a good one. Trying out its tablet to test the waters might be a good first step.
6. The portability factor
Fewer employees are spending their days in the office. They typically find themselves in the car on the way to a client’s office or on yet another plane ride. Rather than lugging around a notebook, an Apple tablet might be a viable alternative for those employees seeking more portability.
7. Great for meetings
One of the key considerations many companies might overlook is the value of a tablet in a meeting. As more employees bring notebooks to meetings, there’s a wall between the members of that meeting. It might sound simplistic, but notebooks have changed the way meetings are conducted. An Apple tablet could change all that. It would sit on the table (you know, where the notepad used to go), without preventing the eye-to-eye contact that is an integral part of important meetings. Don’t discount that. It’s important.
8. Apple “gets” usability
One of the main reasons why so many Windows-based tablets have failed is due to their usability factor. Microsoft’s software wasn’t designed with the user’s intentions in mind and vendor hardware just didn’t get the job done-the early tablet designs were heavy and unwieldy. Say what you will about Apple, but it does understand the user. And it knows how to deliver equipment that appeals to just about anyone-including the enterprise.
9. There’s no pressure
What does the enterprise lose by buying some Apple tablets? Most companies are loath to switch an entire setup from one operating system to another. Plus, there are still a slew of enterprise applications that work with Windows. That’s why companies don’t want to switch to Mac OS X. But an Apple tablet is different. Companies can still use Windows, while giving employees a product that could make it much easier for them to get simple tasks like Web work, document edits or e-mail messaging done. The risk to productivity just isn’t there.
10. It could sell more iPhones
There is nothing Apple would like more than to see its iPhone make a mark in the enterprise. What better way to do that than to release a tablet that does almost everything the iPhone does except for making calls? A company could try out the tablet, see if it works out, and from there, possibly consider giving employees an iPhone to supplement the tablet when they need to make calls. In other words, the tablet could significantly help Apple regarding the iPhone’s adoption in the enterprise. The halo effect is strong at Apple.
We shouldn’t discount the Apple tablet. The device has promise in the enterprise.