Friday, November 5, 2010

Corporations Face a Technological Opportunity

iPad, iPad, iPad. Seems to be all anyone can talk about lately. Here again, is yet another situation where Apple, Inc. has taken the industry by surprise and reset expectations for personal computing. Today in Sydney Australia, analyst Garter held a symposium examining the impact of new mobile devices in the Enterprise.

Like the iPhone before it, the iPad is an iconic device that redefines markets. Media "gurus" and forecasters struggled to categorize this device at the time of launch — and some made the mistake of assuming that, like all tablet-format devices before it, it would remain a niche product for a limited market.

According to Gartner analysts, the iPad is not a notebook replacement for most users, but a valuable companion device. As it is much less intrusive in face-to-face environments than conventional notebooks, it is well suited to a sales or information-sharing environment. It also makes electronic media consumption effortless and casual, thereby increasing consumption.

After years of having their Mac OS X operating system shunned by the Enterprise in favor of "standardizing" to Microsoft Windows, Apple has moved passed somewhat encouraging adoption of its iOS operating system via the iPhone, to almost manic adoption of the iPad. In its symposium Gartner actually encouraged CEOs to get directly involved in specific device decisions, and to "strongly consider" the benefits of the iPad.

Blackberry, meanwhile, is still set to debut its Playbook tablet next year, using Adobe Air as a development platform, Samsung debuts its Galaxy Tab this month, and Windows 7 is struggling into the market with HPs mediocre Slate offering.

I don't think I've ever seen such a time in the industry where so many companies were caught off guard, and a manufacturer had an entire product category to itself. It's kind of frightening.