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.