Why iPad Wins

Back in April I voiced doubts about the iPad because I couldn't figure out where it was going to live. This led me to agree with Forrester's assessment that Apple would only sell three million iPads in calendar 2010. 

Obviously, we got the shipment forecast wrong -- it looks like Apple is on track to deliver between seven to ten million iPads this year. People may have come to the same conclusion I did -- the iPad is an important executive tool, differentiated from the PC and the smartphone.

The iPad is my meeting aid. Board sessions, client visits, or internal operational reviews invariably turn to digital -- the iPad gives me access to that world. Someone refers to a client -- I can quickly look at their Web site. There's a guy sitting next to me from Goldman Sachs -- I quietly look him up on Wikipedia and remember that we met 10 years ago (and that he's running Carly Fiorina's campaign in California).  A client brags about his company's iPhone app -- I can quickly scan it.

Phones and PCs don't perform well in this role. The phone's screen is too small -- and its presence signals that you aren't paying attention, you are rudely checking email. PCs don't work in meetings because the screen acts as a barrier between you and other participants. Using a PC in a meeting subtly lowers your status -- you devolve from thinker to clerk typist when you swing that screen open.

Business depends on digital. The iPad gives me an omnipresent window into that digital world. I couldn't work without it. 


Is the iPad at Home in the Enterprise

Hello George,
At this very moment I have just published a note on my (humble) blog about the iPad and my first impressions. I am greatly excited about the device but still puzzled on how it would fit in the Enterprise information system and infrastructure.
I'd love to see a little more openness in the design.


iPad and enterprise systems

I'm not sure when or indeed if this will happen. Apple hates dealing with CIOs and IT departments, so they aren't going to make it easy. But even if it doesn't happen, iPad as the "window into digital" will be very valuable in companies....


Hi George, I was on the fence

Hi George,
I was on the fence on whether or not to get an iPad. After reading your blog, you've convinced me to go ahead and get one. The points your raised made perfect sense because I've been in similiar situations where a mobile phone screen was too small to do quick searches in meetings. Now, I need to decided whether to just get Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi +3G.


Which one to buy...

Get the 3G. I am often in meetings where I can't get WiFi and I need cell access.


My birthday is coming up and

My birthday is coming up and the iPad with 3G will definately be the present I get for myself!
Thanks again!

Don't get 3g

I am at lunch, typing this on my wireless iPad. The 3G option is a waste if you already have a data plan with your smartphone. I have an htc hero that I've rooted to be able to tether it's wireless connection to my iPad. So, I'll be saving hundreds of dollars a year and can roll with the 3gers with my android tucked undetected in my pocket.


I like your assessment. However I am curious. The big distinction seems to be in form factor. "Raising the lid" makes that much difference in perspective?

In your earlier posts, you mention the potential of the iPad as a consumer device. Perhaps the greater-than-expected sales might spur Apple to consult with CIOs (at least a few) in order to come up with some apps that make the iPad a consumer must-have.

But I am certainly happy to see the board room being penetrated finally. I see that as being a very positive sign.

iPads in business...

I'm amazed at how many iPads I'm seeing in the hands of high-level executives. At many of the meetings that I attend, 30%-40% of the participants are using an iPad for the same purposes that I do -- to give me a window into digital.

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Apple to "...consult with CIOs." The company is notorious for ignoring the requirements of large corporations...

But enterprise apps will certainly make it to the iPad -- but companies are going to have to run them through the App Store.


iPad as an Executive Tool

George, I am in absolute agreement on iPad potential. It is however a truly quirky device, which I think either Apple or app developers will eventually need to resolve.

I see the iPad more than anything as a device for knowledgeworkers, which makes it even more a pity that it won't run the most common RIA functionality in Portals with Flash or in Java. Even simple things like downloading files can be a hassle. The email client on iPad is one of the worst that I have seen in a long time. One can't even search emails properly or control what can be downloaded. Even dreadful Outlook email is better than the iPad's.

Executives and managers are the most high-value knowledgeworkers of a business and there is the most potential yet to bring IT support for knowledgeworkers to grip. In 'Mastering the Unpredictable' we wrote about these requirements and we are working to bring the most strategic tools for the executive to devices such as the iPad. But clearly, executives are no geeks. They will want even more simplicity and yet they will want it their way, not the way some geek Objective-C programmer liked it. It won't be possible to handcode all those apps for cost reasons for all those executive applications, because there won't be millions of users to buy them. Which means that the appstore dynamics can't be counted upon to deliever this. Simple BI frontends are already dead now because they don't deliver 'actionable knowledge', but just huge amounts of useless data, predictive or not. Executives will want their leverage points exposed and hot on their pad device.

However we look at the iPad, but Apple can be credited with reinventing another product segment yet again.

Ok...I'm convinced

Ok, that does it - I have been on the fence about buying one for several reasons (no multi tab browsing, closed-network focus, absence of camera) but I now have a an excuse - - litigate productivity during a meeting :). I'm in.

Fess meeting

Hey Curt. I was recently at a Trustee meeting where we were talking about the Web site. Everyone else was speaking hypothetically. I was actually looking at the site. It made my contributions to the discussion more valuable, and more grounded.



Glad to hear it, George. Now we have to solve the Flash issue since our site is definitely at a disadvantage being viewed on any and all Apple mobile devices. A conversion to HTML5 is a possibility we are currently exploring with WhippleHill. All best!

Who should get iPads?

I got a great question from a client today. He said that his company (a multi-billion dollar energy corporation) is buying iPads for all of its top executives. He asked this question:

"...what practices should evolve to determine when to buy or not buy such a device?"

Here's how I answered the client:

If you spend your life in meetings (like most senior executives), you need an iPad. The iPad is what I call the "Window into digital" -- a necessary tool to help you see the digital world as you make decisions in meetings, or discuss strategy. As an example, the CMO can't have a discussion in a meeting about branding without looking at the company's Web site. It would be like having a discussion about advertising without looking at print copy.


iPad needs a camera

I tend to agree with your assessment that the iPad is a great match between the digital and the business world. However, in my profession (real estate/machinery and equipment appraiser), a camera is a must. I still have to rely on a standalone camera (or a phone) to get pictures for the subject and comparables. Once the iPad includes a built-in camera, I'll buy it.

Well, I'm very happy with my

Well, I'm very happy with my iPad even though it's only WiFi.

Anyway, got to agree with you that iPad complements the digital and business setting well.

iPad for Business

I fully agree with the article, iPad's future is especially secure with the use of the device as a business tool. As such, I was excited to discover tools to allow me to use my enterprise applications with iPad and mobile devices, such as with the 2X Client for iOS (http://www.2x.com/virtualdesktop/ios). This client is a free download, allowing you use Windows apps from your iPad, and giving you application publishing and RDP Remote Desktop capabilities for free, in contrast to the Citrix Receiver and Wyse PocketCloud. Definitely worth a look.