One of the biggest segments of people buying iPadsfrom Apple tends to be people working in IT. It's not clear how much of this is due to geek chic factor or real perceived value, but the interesting downstream effect is the number of providers of IT management tools that are adding support for the iPad.
The latest example is MuleSoft, which added iPad support to the remote management tools it makes available for its implementation of the open source Tomcat application server and companion enterprise service bus (ESB) platform. Adding support for the iPad is a natural follow-on to the trend that saw the rise of systems management tools on smartphones.
But even Mahau Ma, vice president of marketing for MuleSoft, concedes that he's not sure how many times an IT manager might need to access a Tomcat application server via an iPad. Of course, in those rare instances, an iPad is probably preferable to an iPhone in terms of available screen real estate. But justifying the extra cost for that when most IT managers already have a smartphone that can access any number of servers is probably hard to do.
The bottom line is that when it comes to the latest and greatest, the very people who should be the most skeptical tend to be among the first buyers. There's a lot to be said for technology enthusiasm and there's no doubt that the iPad is a fun device to play around with. But just how crucial it is in a work scenario when a plethora of other devices have already been paid for remains a little dubious.
Nevertheless, if IT folks want to spend their own money on iPads, more power to them. It's only when they try to put one on a corporate purchase order that eyebrows will most certainly be raised.