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iPad missing key enterprise features, analysts complain

updated 12:45 pm EST, Thu January 28, 2010

E-mail, security, delivery cited as problems

The iPad may potentially lure in businesses, but some decisions on Apple's part will ultimately limit sales, analysts say. Some attractive points are said to include iWork, which can handle basic job tasks, and Safari, which in its enhanced form may be good for web-based apps. Salespeople may find the device useful for its visuals, and still other workers may simply need a large touchscreen.

A research director at The 451 Group, Chris Hazelton, notes however that there is no way for an administrator to implement a push policy that locks the iPad, even though the option already exists for the iPhone. The device also lacks VPN support, and true push e-mail, namely the Exchange support that would make it possible for more administrators to control messaging. Some of these options could be introduced over time.

A more difficult obstacle could be app delivery, says Pund-IT analyst Charles King, as the hegemony of the App Store prevents companies from making uniform deployments. These are essential to ensuring immediate app access, as well as consistent versions. At present it is also impossible to make bulk app purchases, something common with Mac, Windows and Linux software. "I don't see a whole lot here that would interest the enterprise in the short term," King concludes.

Hazelton observes that Apple may be forced to improve on enterprise support if third-party outfits like Sybase or Mobile Iron decide to release iPad apps, creating more of a business market. The market could also increase simply through worker adoption, says Forrester Research's Ted Schadler, though this will be dependent on how useful the iPad is.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    Because...

    Because it still needs to be developed, fine tuned and finalize. It's coming... Duh.

  1. beercake

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +17

    Enterprise Features...

    Why on earth are "enterprise features" important for user-centric devices? I never hear those analysts saying: "Well this TV is missing enterprise features" or "This baby doll is missing enterprise features"...

  1. Darchmare

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +15

    Just once...

    Just once I'd like to see someone release an enterprise-oriented database engine or customer relationship management system or whatever and have these analysts complain about the lack of consumer-oriented functionality.

    "Oracle's new RDBMS is nice and all, but what's in it for families? Will grandma buy this?"

    I can see some types of companies finding a use for the iPad, but that's clearly not what Apple is gunning for.

  1. danny goodman

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Lying Down on the Job

    I wouldn't be too keen to deploy devices that encourage semi-recumbent computing.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +7

    It's very unlikely that the production model iPad

    will be running version 3.0 software. I'll bet Apple didn't want to give any hints of what's in store for the production iPads. I watched the whole presentation and I didn't hear any mention of the iPad being built for the enterprise, so I'm not sure why these people are talking enterprise features. Does the Kindle work well in the enterprise? WS doesn't seem to be downgrading Amazon because the Kindle isn't enterprise ready. Apple never claimed the tablet would be business friendly. The iPad has only been classified as a consumer level product.

    Still, I'm sure it would take Apple very little time to implement enterprise software upgrades if they wanted to bring it up to iPhone level specs. I don't know if there are any hardware requirements that the iPad needs to meet. I think Apple will have a hard enough time ramping up production for consumers to worry about the enterprise. I just hope the iPad is secure enough for schools to implement.

  1. Woode

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    No VPN?

    Seriously? That kinda sucks. Are they sure? Why would Apple take out VPN, since it's already in OS 3.1? I'm confused.

  1. henryblackman

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +11

    Don't Worry!

    This analyst has no clue. The specs don't detail whether Exchange support is available at all, so they've jumped to a conclusion to get press. I'd be shocked if Exchange wasn't available, as it's a no effort inclusion. The same with the VPN.

    Of course, we don't know, but best to say "we don't know" rather than "this is missing" just because it isn't detailed. The specs page doesn't say IMAP, or POP email either, so it can't support email at all can it?

    Clueless analyst.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    VPN & Exchange support

    So, iPhone OS 3.2 is actually a downgrade on the OS on the iPhone in terms of it's Enterprise support - seems an odd thing to do.

    As for locked down / uniform deployments / etc - to be frank, I find that whole side of IT to be annoying, because by and large that type of IT organisation isn't reactive enough to staff needs, but instead prioritizes IT needs (cutting support costs through uniformity) over being an enabling force. But frankly,
    I don't see that type of IT team being the kind of people who go for a cutting edge product like this.

    Although we need to ask exactly how the US army are managing it - presumably tools exist (maybe you role out a uniform iTunes install which the employees sync with?).

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    Interesting...

    My first thought was the use of an iPad in the work environment is a completely silly idea. It isn't designed to be an enterprise machine, but a consumer system. It's a lightweight computer.

    But, then I realized that I've been saying for several months that Windows corporate reign might be more ephemeral than we think. Giving each employee a full blown desktop and keeping these networked is extremely expensive. I've beginning to see companies implement policies that help employees buy their own systems. These are not given the full blown corporate access. Instead, they use email and web applications for their work.

    This limits the need for IT to maintain such an extensive network and track all the machines. This means that the company is no longer responsible to dispose of obsolete hardware (which is extremely expensive).

    By using an iPad like system and iPhone style apps, these companies can reduce their infrastructure costs.

    Remember that the iPad isn't even out yet. We simply don't know what Apple will do with them. And, remember that the iPhone didn't have VPN or enterprise ability when it first came out. A simple software update may make a big difference in the iPad's ability to be used in the business world.

  1. G4_Kessel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    HUH?

    I thought the iPad was a "consumer" devise. WTF does that have to do with "Enterprise"? Other than the space ship in the Star Trek movie thats featured on the devise... :) Grandma or little Timmy are not going to give a rat's a$$ about "enterprise" features these stupid analysts are bitching about.

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