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Posted by Ted Schadler on March 7, 2012
As my colleague Sarah Rotman Epps so aptly observes: the third generation of iPad is a gut renovation masquerading as incremental innovation. The new iPad looks basically the same but now carries a snappy 4G radio and a much more powerful graphics processor than its predecessor. The big hardware advance lies in the components, particularly in the graphics processor to handle the high-fidelity Retina display and rapid-response touchscreen control. How will an iPad with much better graphics and a faster network connection affect the enterprise?
Some Forrester data from our workforce surveys and forecasts to set the stage:
In conversations with more than 100 CIOs in the past six months, three questions dominate the enterprise tablet to-do list. Here's my take on how the new iPad will change the answers to those questions:
Further, every systems integrator is building mobile interfaces to SAP applications to handle the needs of field sales, executives in meetings, and normal Joes like us. The list of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and software vendors delivering touchscreen business apps is also rapidly expanding and ready to take advantage of the faster network. Cisco WebEx is moving into two-way video; QuickOffice is ramping up its spreadsheet program; Adobe Illustrator is unleashed with gestures; even Microsoft is running OneNote on iPad with panache; and salesforce.com is enhancing its touch interface. And new-generation mobile engagement vendors such as Appian and appsFreedom are handling the refacing and last-mile wireless delivery of business apps to tablets. In short, iPads are accumulating business apps at breakneck pace.
Of course, these improvements are contingent on vendors building great touchscreen apps, something that they have cut their teeth doing for Apple devices since 2007. I believe that a critical mass of expertise now exists to build great touchscreen apps. Our recent investigation into mobile engagement showed how companies such as saleforce.com, TripIt, Pandora, Box, Dropbox, and QuickOffice can deliver great task-oriented applications that serve people in their moments of decision and action.
Last thought: CIOs wait with hopeful anticipation that Windows 8 tablets will have even better answers to these questions. Well, we'll see. I am not so sure, given employees' willingness to buy their own work equipment the way they buy their own work clothes. The end result of device consumerization is faster innovation and more device diversity. And Apple has a four-year head start wooing developers to build and sell touchscreen apps. So they beat Microsoft in tablets. What do you think?
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