Apple’s new iPad Air is certainly generating lots of hype and building traction. The latest version of the tablet series is generating excellent reviews from critics who like the slim design, more powerful processor, and brighter images.
The Air, in both its standard and Mini versions, will add to a consumer tablet market Apple already dominates. According to a recent survey by Chitika Insights the iPad lineup accounted for 81 percent of tablet traffic in Canada and the United States during the month of January 2013. Everyone else is far behind.
The iPad is no doubt versatile, visually appealing and easy-to-use. Yet how does it stack up as a business tool?
A recent study published by the global research firm Forrester indicated that 21 percent of business respondents were using a tablet at least weekly for work. Among those, 58 per cent were using the iPad. This is twice the number using Android tablets and more than five times the number using Window tablets the report said.
The Los Angeles Times reported in an article in October that another study, from Good Technology, a maker of mobile security applications, found that 72% of mobile devices activated by businesses ran on Apple’s iOS. Looking at just tablets, 90% were iPads.
The statistics tell a good story. But before a business jumps on the iPad bandwagon it should recognize the limitations a tablet brings to the workplace, especially those operating on Apple’s iOS system.
Many corporate users complain that the iPad cannot be connected to a Windows domain as you can with a Windows client PC. Joining a PC to a domain lets a system administrator add it to a Windows Active Directory-based domain. It can then be managed through Active Directory.
Any tablet, including the iPad, has relatively light processing capability. Companies still need desktop workhorses to perform heavier computing tasks such as creating and managing databases with CAD, media editing, or handling any large sets of scientific data. Writing and generating both long and short form content is also best accomplished with a PC or laptop.
The iPad might also be a headache for corporate compliance. Since the tablet is primarily a consumer device, compliance regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley are not engrained in its specs. The IT department has to ensure the data that iPad users access is compliant both in terms of where that data resides and how it’s transmitted.
The iPad is weak when it comes to Virtualization. It can be a problem to integrate and support compared with a standard thin client.
Though new apps are becoming available for iOS that help address the problems of a Windows based network, those who enjoy the tablet experience may get better results from the Surface 2. Since Microsoft dominates the workplace this new tablet may be a real alternative with Windows already on-board.
Overall the tablet market has a long way to go to replace PCs and notebooks. Daily business operations are best accomplished with a keyboard and full desktop operating system.
What do you think? Do you use a tablet at work and how do you use it?
Let us know.