Apple’s iPad has been a tremendous success with mainstream consumer but the “magical” tablet is also gaining some corporate fans as Wells Fargo, SAP, Mercedes and even the White House are using the device for business purposes.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the Apple iPad is being used by multiple businesses for things like sending and receiving e-mails, corporate calendaring, as well as presentations. An SAP VP even said he only carriers a BlackBerry and iPad around when traveling because it enables him to run a “paperless office.”
It’s still way too early to tell how successful the Apple iPad will be in the corporate space but it looks like it will follow the trajectory of the iPhone. When the Apple iPhone first hit the scene, many companies didn’t want to let users bring it on the corporate networks due to security concerns. But the overwhelming demand, as well as the boosted enterprise features in the iOS platform, has made the iPhone a popular corporate device.
I used to work exclusively on the enterprise mobility space and I would often hear stories about how the Apple iPhone impacted corporate policies. Many places were strictly BlackBerry or Windows Mobile-only – no exceptions. Then, a C-level executive would get an iPhone and, suddenly, those policies had to be changed to let Apple’s smartphone on the network. Will the same happen with Apple’s tablet? It’s tough to make an exact analogy because smartphones already had a clear business case while tablets are still trying to prove their worth.
The lack of multitasking is a major detraction for the iPad as a business device, but this should be addressed in a few months with an over-the-air update. This success will undoubtedly not sit well with competitors like Research In Motion.
RIM is already slowly feeling the heat from the iPhone and Android smartphones in the corporate market – it’s still dominant but the momentum is not in its favor. We’ve already heard tons of rumors that the BlackBerry maker is prepping an enterprise tablet (Cobalt?) that could head off the momentum of Apple’s tablet.