iPad for Business? Not Without Multitasking

Ann All

After all the hoo-ha died down, I've got to give the edge to Moses. The biblical figure, not Apple's Steve Jobs, made the greatest tablet announcement of all time.


(Thanks to Twitter users for the Moses joke. Some other iPad funniness on Twitter: "Apple tablet to feature screen made of real Unicorn horn & powered by magic holy kisses of Christ," The Onion's "Frantic Steve Jobs Stays Up All Night Designing Apple Tablet" and all of those groaners playing the feminine hygiene angle.)


With some time to reflect after my initial post on my iPad cravings, I think I'd still like one for personal use, perhaps another generation down the line when Apple has added missing features, like the ability to run more than one program at once, and hopefully lowered the price. If I had known this was coming, I'm not sure I'd have plunked down the money for an iPod Touch. The iPad's crisp 9.7-inch display would be easier on my aging eyes and much better for watching video. The iPad would also be more unwieldy to carry around though, a possible con. But I'm really glad I turned down my mother-in-law's offer to buy me a Kindle for Christmas.


I had been mulling a netbook before I got the iPod Touch, and I can see, as Steve Jobs said in his introduction, how the iPad fills a nice little niche between a laptop and a smartphone. The biggest issues there are the iPad's inability to multitask and its inability to run Adobe's Flash. If Apple can address those in the next iteration, it'll move a lot higher up on my wish list.


I can't see using one for business, though. (Unless I am in the business of winning deals and making money by casually demonstrating to people how cool I am. In which case, I'd probably starve.) The inability to multitask is an even bigger deal to me while I'm working. (You don't even want to know how many applications I've got open right now. Who doesn't multitask at work?) I'd call it the iPad's Achilles' heel.


There are the usual enterprise IT issues, which I am sensitive to since I write about them so much, and many of which are detailed in this InfoWorld article. No support for Microsoft Exchange e-mail or any kind of push e-mail, no support for virtual private networks, and plenty of other security shortcomings. (Apple's usual response to security questions is a smug contention that its products aren't hacked as often as those running Microsoft operating systems. No kidding. That's a market share thing. Hackers are going to focus on the most ubiquitous OSes.)


I can't see the iPad succeeding in construction or health care, two of the industry sectors in which tablet PCs have been popular. Those industries demand rugged hardware that can be customized to suit specific needs, points out a Computerworld article. Many users in those fields, such as construction foremen and nurses entering lots of patient data, may find a tablet with a stylus easier to use than the iPad's touchscreen. Back to security, hospitals concerned about HIPAA mandates like the ability to configure tablets as thin client or virtualized desktops.


Still, there's business potential there. The iPad business bonuses include support for Microsoft Office documents, external keyboard support and a special suite of iWork software that lets users create and edit presentations, work on spreadsheets and word-processing documents, and create newsletters and other basic page-layout documents.


As Charlene O'Hanlon points out on our CTO Edge site, developers can't wait to start creating business applications for the iPad. (And why wouldn't they be? There's more money to be had with business apps.) As with the iPhone, developer interest in the business market will help drive its acceptance as a business tool.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 30, 2010 1:48 AM nick roman nick roman  says:

you are paid by M$. How can you say stupid things like this: viruses are a market thing?! That's just one of your stupid assertions....

Jan 30, 2010 10:54 AM Chris Fleck Chris Fleck  says:

If you consider the ability of the iPad to connect to Virtual Desktops and Apps hosted in the company data center , this solves most of the issues you point out.

At Citrix we are seeing a significant demand for the Citrix Reciever for iPad which can connect to XenApp or XenDesktop infrastructure that many companies ( 200,000+ ) allready have.

Check out the comments and iPad business use cases that our customers are telling us about on our blog.


Feb 25, 2010 12:20 PM Todd Biske Todd Biske  says:

Ann, I disagree with your comments regarding multitasking.  People thinking about the iPad as a laptop replacement, where multitasking would be a big issue, are thinking about it the wrong way.  The iPad's niche has to be for purpose-driven, touch-based interfaces where you should be focused on a single task and not hopping back and forth between many applications.  If you think about it from that perspective, there's huge potential.  If you're thinking about it from the perspective of a better laptop/netbook, then you'll be disappointed.  I've blogged about this here and here.

Apr 8, 2010 3:35 AM BDRand BDRand  says:

Multitasking just came to iPad by the newly released iPhone OS4. So, now, run out and buy your iPad and be technologically superior !!!!

Apr 19, 2010 3:30 AM ipad reviews ipad reviews  says:

I totally disagree with almost all the junk written online about the iPad. Personally, I think the device looks inferior to Amazon's Kindle and even the iPod Touch is better. But I love Touchgrind and think it is the best thing about the iPhone and iPad. So, it is good to see that ipad reviews index www.dozenipad.com ranked Touchgrind as a Top iPad game site. Touchgrind is a cool game-I love the playability and I hope that on iPad it will also be amazing. Other apps that interest me are the video apps such as Netflix and Vimeo.

Jul 8, 2010 2:56 AM iPad News iPad News  says:

Hi Ann

I think its horses for courses and the iPad has been brought out to compete with Netbooks not Laptops, Apple are not daft they have launched a device that will challenge many different markets and dominate most of them.

Nov 2, 2010 5:33 AM office cleaning office cleaning  says:

The iPad's niche has to be for purpose-driven, touch-based interfaces where you should be focused on a single task and not hopping back and forth between many applications.

Feb 9, 2011 8:33 AM Torrent Torrent  says:

Multitasking just came to iPad by the newly released iPhone OS4. So, now, run out and buy your iPad and be technologically superior !!!!

Jun 4, 2011 5:29 AM ben 10 ben 10  says: in response to Torrent

launched a device that will challenge many different markets and dominate most of them.

Jan 9, 2012 3:14 AM hemorrhoids hemorrhoids  says: in response to ben 10

Surely it depends on what your business is? I use my iPad on business, and do indeed browse the web and answer emails on the train. But I don't need to have a laptop with me, so the iPad is more convenient to get out when someone wants to check a web site during a meeting. And I use DropBox so I can get documents while away, or stored permanently so I can read them. And I can remote control my PC if I need to do so while out of the office. But I work with IT, so it fits very well. If I sold fruit and veg, then I can't see it would be such a good purchase.

I do agree that the iPad 1 makes a bargain right now.

Read more: Should your small business buy an Apple iPad 2? | PC Pro blog http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2011/03/11/should-your-small-business-buy-an-apple-ipad-2/#ixzz1iwWTMhoz


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