What's Holding the iPad Back from Mainstream Business Adoption?

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Wes Miller from GetWired.com and Directions on Microsoft feels that security is not as much an issue as an error in perception. He points out that iPad apps that are developed properly don’t represent the security risk people think they do.

Miller does believe, though, that the general perception of the iPad as a “consumer toy”, and its small size are two things that hold it back in the business world. As beautiful as the “Retina” display is, it’s still only 10 inches, which is diminutive compared with the 20-inch plus monitors people are used to.

I agree with Miller on the size issue. However, when I did my 30 Days with the iPad experiment I overcame that issue by essentially “docking” the iPad 2. I used a Bluetooth physical keyboard, and connected the iPad via HDMI to my 23-inch monitor. Then, I just used the iPad itself as a giant trackpad for navigating.

The iPad Needs More Business Apps

Miller also listed a lack of key business apps as a stumbling block for the iPad as a business tool. Microsoft has created an iOS version of OneNote, and an app to connect with SkyDrive, but Microsoft Office for iOS is still just a rumor, and tools that people rely on in Windows like Visio are not available for the iPad.

King says that the main thing holding developers back from creating more robust, capable business apps is uncertainty. Despite the proven success of the iPad, many are still sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what happens with iPad rivals before committing resources to any specific platform.

Windows 8 tablets may be a benefactor of the walls the iPad is breaking down.
The iPad Marches On

For most businesses, user demand will be enough to overcome almost any objection, and drive corporate adoption of the iPad in spite of any perceived shortcomings.

As Onuora Amobi pointed out recently, IT wants better tools and more control, but users and executives don’t really care about those things. Ultimately, the IT department is seen as an expense--a necessary evil-in many organizations, and it doesn’t really have the authority to impose its will. The role of IT in many cases is to cater to the whims of the company and figure out how to make things work, not act as the police force to tell the company why they can’t work.

The iPad has significant momentum, and there is no reason to believe that won’t continue. The good news for iPad rivals is that Apple is paving the way for business adoption of tablets in general, and that will make it that much easier for Android, Windows 8, and others to be adopted as business tools.

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