Tablet computing is not a new idea, it not only was thought of before the iPad but a couple of companies took a trial run at it as well. But Apple did something that everyone else lost sight of, they wanted it to be user friendly and just work. Too many times companies try to cram too much into their product and unfortunately, that mentality will do a lot of ideas in. The age-old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” is very appropriate when it comes to certain aspects of mobile computing.
The iPads initial WOW factors were its sleek design, the A4 processor/onboard flash memory and its compact size. I believe the vast majority of investors and companies initially believed the iPad was a more casual mobile media platform rather than the mobile computing wonder it’s become. By Apple doing what they do best, taking the time to research and properly develop the tablets initial and future potential, they have placed themselves in surprisingly unfamiliar territory. The iPad has started to claim a long sought after position atop the corporate food chain of mobile computing and it is beginning to develop quite the stronghold.
“Today, over 80% of the Fortune 100 are already deploying or piloting iPad, up from 65% in the [previous] quarter,” said CFO Peter Oppenheimer. “Some recent examples include JPMorgan Chase, Cardinal Health, Wells Fargo, Archer Daniels Midland, Sears Holdings and DuPont.”
Mercedes Benz has begun the process in some dealerships of equipping their associates with iPads loaded with their app for presentations and even beginning the credit process while the customer is still close to the car they could potentially purchase. Which is a lot less threatening then pulling them in an office.
Bausch and Lomb use the iPad for certain teams of sales people due to the quick response and instant on thanks to the onboard flash memory.
Kaiser-Permanente has been testing the iPad “in a 37,000-square-foot technology lab. Among the uses so far are viewing medical images such as X-rays and CT scans, and accessing medical records through a trial version of an iPad app developed by the electronic-record system’s maker.” For those not well versed in the health care industry, Kaiser-Permanente is the “largest managed care organization in the United States.”
The list of companies that are beginning to incorporate the iPad is becoming quite lengthy. More than 500 of the 11,000-plus applications built specifically for the iPad are in the business category. A free app from Citrix Systems Inc, which allows people to access internal corporate programs from the iPad, has been downloaded more than 145,000 times. And those figures are from last August.
Microsoft has even gone to the lengths of assembling an information filled Power Point presentation with the sole purpose of discrediting the iPad for business use and why corporations should not sway from the familiar Microsoft business brand. Examples of these slides can be found here thanks to ZDNet.
What this translates to is that not only is the iPad distancing itself from any would be competitors, they are beginning to actually affect usage of laptops that solely rely on a Windows OS, within the business community. Think about it, for the longest time corporate personnel carried their attaché case loaded with papers and documents. Then came laptops that were somewhat feasible to carry around, yet still bulky and cumbersome. Next came the smartphone revolution, which enabled quite a bit of flexibility with communication, as well as sending, receiving and viewing documents and emails. However, smartphones are far too small to use in any presentation style setting and it would be absurd to even consider such a thing. Enter the iPad, an appropriately sized medium between the functionality and resourcefulness of a laptop blended with the portability and communication factor of a smartphone. This fact alone makes it incredibly appealing to businesses that have multiple needs. From documents, to analysis, to IT based access and the option of sending almost any of its contents to a printer for a hard copy, the iPad is actually an extremely diverse business tool.
There is always talk of “iPad Killers” and the next big tablet, but realistically Apple has begun something that other companies are drooling over. The initial introduction of the iPad as you probably remember, was focused on how immensely personal of an experience it is, from browsing the web to viewing videos or sending emails. It’s apparent purpose was primarily for personal media and browsing, but it has since sprung a by-product that very few expected, the ability to be used through the same means as a corporate business tool.
So while the rest of the world is excited to release their tablet that will “dethrone” the iPad, Apple has reinforced it’s position as the leader in tablet computing and is beginning an infiltration in the corporate community unlike anyone expected. Apple has long been a distant second choice in businesses due to Microsoft’s stranglehold on the whole of IT and it’s infrastructure within companies. However, that is beginning to change amidst how multi-faceted companies are these days. Social media wasn’t even a factor almost a decade ago and now it impacts businesses in a huge way. The iPad speaks social media fluently and is learning to speak business at an astounding rate as well.
Am I saying that the iPad is dominating the business end of computing? Not by a long shot, but it has had a significant impact that has made a hole in Microsoft’s fortified wall protecting business usage. A hole that will only get bigger as launch of iPad 2 is imminent and business compatibility and apps continue to grow.