updated 09:35 am EDT, Thu November 4, 2010
Calls for 54.8 million iPad sales in 2011
Research firm Gartner is encouraging the heads of major corporations to push for adoption or at least basic support of the iPad. "It is not usually the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apples iPad is an exception," says Gartner VP Stephen Prentice. "It is more than just the latest consumer gadget; and CEOs and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs about it if they have not already done so."
Companies need to ignore Mac vs. Windows arguments, claims Prentice. "Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them," he says. "While some IT departments will say they are a 'Windows shop', and Apple does not support the enterprise. Organisations need to recognise that there are soft benefits in a device of this type in the quest to improve recruitment and retention. Technology is not always about productivity."
The iPad is further portrayed as having "the potential to be hugely disruptive" to both the markets and business models of various enterprises. Aside from book and magazine publishers, Gartner posits everything from architectural firms and schools through to airlines and hospitals as being affected. "While there are no certainties, the iPad looks set to become a market-disrupting device, like the iPod before it," says Prentice. "Even if you think it is just a passing fad, the cost of early action is low, while the price of delay may well be extremely high."
Much of the argument rests on predicted iPad and overall tablet sales. Gartner is calling for sales of 19.5 million iPads by the end of 2010, and 54.8 million "media tablets" in 2011. By 2014, tablet sales are expected to pass 208 million units. Most iPad competitors have yet to launch; the first major rival, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, has only just launched in Europe and South Korea, and has yet to debut in North America.