Apple is known as a technology leader for a good reason: Its innovative products have literally brought cutting-edge technology to the masses, and with good results. Thanks to Apple, the idea of having 4,000 songs at your fingertips is no longer a foreign concept to grandma.
So when Apple announced its $499 iPad tablet-style device this week, a number of folks pointed out that the company was actually behind the curve in introducing a tablet. After all, they said, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo all have unveiled demos of new tablets that will be rolled out later this year. But in doing so, they're comparing apples to oranges-the iPad is not just a touch-screen version of a PC.
So what's so special about the iPad? For one, its pedigree, which is the main reason I believe the iPad will be a roaring success. Apple's reputation for gee-whiz products is stellar-no one can deny that. For another, its reason for being, which is to be what the iPhone is and more. Jobs and company realized that the iPhone is a great platform for the myriad apps that have been created for it, as well as a larger yet-still-mobile platform. Imagine sitting in the kitchen and needing to check your calendar. You could do it on the iPhone, but now you can also do it on the iPad without straining your eyes.
Yes, it's basically the iPhone's big brother. But there are serious implications for the enterprise space, as well. According to application developer platform vendor Appcelerator, which last week polled its developer community on their plans for the iPad, 90 percent of the respondents said they are "very interested" in developing apps for the iPad. And the No. 1 category for which developers are most likely to develop apps for the iPad is business/productivity.
According to Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator's vice president of marketing, the reason for all the interest is because of crossover-fundamentally the tablet is going into an existing business ecosystem. That means, he said, "we're not redefining distribution or wireless with this tablet. It drafts off the monumental success of the iPhone.'
The database/storage capabilities of the iPad will enable richer business app experiences, Schwarzhoff added. Rather than logging onto Salesforce.com to view a contact's basic information, users would be able to make deeper dives into the program to extract and input more information. Such a richer experience could enhance productivity that much more.
Right now, it's anyone's guess how successful the iPad will be in the enterprise space. Indeed, no one could have imagined the iPhone's success, et no one can deny it. Once the real world catches up to the iPad hype, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if iPad had an even bigger impact than the iPhone.