The iPad is clearly one of those universal technologies that will be as useful in the home as in the office. Much like the iPhone, people will want it for work simply because it will be useful for getting work completed. Like any Apple product, it's easy to use. It's lightweight. And it's mobile. Plus, this baby is as sleek as it gets.
We expect to see a similar trajectory for the iPad in the enterprise as the iPhone has had in recent months.
Apple reported its earnings earlier this week. The company reported that iPhone usage doubled since last summer after the introduction of the 3GS. The iPad with 3GS service will be available in 90 days. Our bet is that by next fall we will be reporting similar news about the iPad as we have about the iPhone.
Similar to the iPhone, the iPad serves as a communication device. It's clearly positioned as a consumer device for reading newspapers, watching movies and all sorts of various entertainments. But it is also well suited for the enterprise.
According to Forrester Research, the iPad will be particularly well suited to the high-end mobile office worker. These people will pay for the tablet themselves. They will primarily use it for messaging and collaboration and to access email, calendars and productivity applications.
Forrester analyst Ted Schadler says the iPad has a number of implications for the market .Google will have to respond now that Apple has extended its platform for applications. And the competition will only intensify for collaboration and productivity applications. According to Schrader:
"The importance of great document tools just increased. Apple's support of iWorks on the iPad gives execs what they need to present on the road and leave the laptop at home. Microsoft should build best-in-class iPad software in the Office formats. (Or watch execs move key material to the iWorks formats.) Adobe should take responsibility for a great PDF reader. And these readers must also be great presentation tools."
We know what the critics will say. Corporate governance will preclude the use of the iPad in the enterprise. It will have to meet corporate IT requirements for laptops. This may be true, but like the iPhone, people will buy and use it, regardless of the corporate policy.
Still, there are a number of requirements that would make it ideal for the enterprise, including the ability to wipe data remotely and hardware encryption.
But in the end, the iPad is a sleek device that people will want for work as much as for at home.