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Businesses Handhelds Apple

Why Tablets Haven't Taken Off In Business 449

An anonymous reader writes "On PC World's blog, Keir Thomas suggests reasons why tablets have never taken off in business, and explains how Apple's iPad was able to waltz in and steal the entire market. It's all about giving users freedom to figure out how useful tablets can be, he says, rather than forcing them into narrow usage scenarios: 'There's a lot to be said for having faith in users to make best use of their computer, without pushing and pulling them in ways you think are best for them.'"
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Why Tablets Haven't Taken Off In Business

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  • Re:Steal the market? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PDG ( 100516 ) <pdg@webcrush.com> on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:14PM (#34294412) Homepage

    Are you kidding me? I used my iPad are the office all the time. Granted, I'm not compiling Java on it, but there are plenty of uses over and above email at the office.

    It makes a great portable Web-Ex client, as well as GotoMeeting and other presentation formats. It handles documents well. Using iAnnotate lets me markup and read PDF docs.

    I also found it great for reading specs rather than killing trees with paper or trying to read them off a computer screen. I can take them with me with ease.

    I also have RDP and VNC clients plus a shell terminal (no, not jailbroken) lets me SSH into other boxes and do sys admin work as well as a slew of other network tools available.

    Add on top of that the fact that I can do Voip calls and listen to my music all at the same time.

  • by t2t10 ( 1909766 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:41PM (#34294584)

    No, it wasn't cost. It was weight and battery life. I had a couple of tablet-style computers over the years. They were nice machines and not all that expensive.

    But at over 1" thick and weighing 6 pounds, you simply couldn't comfortably carry them around. They also took too long to turn on and off. You couldn't build a powerful lightweight tablet at the time at any price.

    Now that we have the processors, batteries, and screens that make lightweight, long-lasting tables possible, they are appearing from many companies.

  • Re:Steal the market? (Score:3, Informative)

    by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:45PM (#34294612) Homepage Journal

    Are you kidding me? I want to throw mine across the room whenever I try to type text into it. Why the fuck are you using it as a terminal when perfectly usable computers with keyboards are available?

  • Re:does not compute (Score:5, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:53PM (#34294656) Homepage
    Just a guess - you're not the target market. How about an 79 year old woman with bad hands, bad eyes and not much computer savvy?

    That's my mother - who, after years of trying every single computerized gizmo that my brother and gave her (and failing rather dramatically) has fallen in love with her iPad. As have her neighbors at her Assisted Living place. We gave her the iPad a couple of months ago - I just visited the place and now there are perhaps a dozen of the things crawling around the place. The old folks are browsing the web, playing Mah jong, doing email and all those other fancy things (the home has a nice wireless setup). They're perfect for people that can't handle a 'real' computer and don't want / need a smartphone. The bigger screen is a big deal for some folks.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, jhigh, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. The fact that Apple has sold millions of these things indicates that they know a teensy bit more about the market than you (or the rest of your rather narrow minded ilk) do.
  • Re:does not compute (Score:3, Informative)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:56PM (#34294674) Journal

    Well, are you a business, which is what this article is about?

    Anyway, do you have a job that requires you to walk around while also having access to a lot of information at the same time?

    I happen to have both an iPhone and an iPad, and for non-trivial things, the iPad kills the iPhone. Being able to see more items in a list, easier typing [course, I'm 6'5"], WAY longer battery life would be things that people actually using the device for work might actually want.

    I'm sure Fortune 100 companies rolling out iPads is solely because of Job's RDF.

  • Re:It was cost. (Score:3, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @08:59PM (#34294690) Homepage

    The reason the tablets we've had since the 90's never really caught on was because they didn't do enough beyond what a notebook did to justify the difference in price.

    Yet well before the iPad was this company [axiotron.com] which took your Apple laptop and made a tablet out of it. They have been around for a while so there must have already been a market for high priced tablets.

    And Axiotron is doing how well? Not very. They're barely creeping along. Interesting you mention them however - their primary customers are arsty fartsy types who utilize the fact that they've married a Wacom tablet to a MacBook. Not many Enterprise users, I'll warrant. They're trying to develop a MacBook Pro based unit and their promo literature hints at expanded uses in business setting, but I don't even think the product is shipping.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:05PM (#34294716)

    and rejects apps that change it or threaten it in any way

    Yeah, no, that is complete and utter nonsense. You need to stop listening to the bullshit the Internet feeds you and start paying some attention to the real world.

    Oh really? So you mean this not out of the real world?
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/01/apple_boots_widgety_apps_from_app_store/ [theregister.co.uk]

    Maybe it's not real in the RDF zone.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:3, Informative)

    by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @09:19PM (#34294802)

    And its ability to do lots of sophisticated work, today, isn't very good.

    I assume that you don't know anything about software development. The ability or lack there of is only limited by the software written for it. Rather than spouting nebulous hyperbole, why not give an example of what it lacks for "business" use.

    Worse, there are no anti-malware/virus pieces (yeah, probably unnecessary but probably required anyway).

    Sorry, but how can it be unnecessary and yet required? Is that from some retarded interpretation of SOX? In the non-jailbroken configuration, there is no need for anti-malware because everything runs in a sandbox.

    There are no fleet management components or APIs.

    Then write one. Do you seriously expect the OS to write an industry specific API? Really? Who gets to decide which industries get an API and which don't? Stop being so damn lazy.

    There are no policy controls to prevent data theft of give data protection at all (aside from DRM).

    http://www.apple.com/support/ipad/enterprise/ [apple.com]

    If you use exchange, Apple has your covered. An administrator can perform a remote wipe of any lost device. You can also enforce passcode length policies for unlocking the device.

    If you expect Apple or any other OS vendor to do your job then maybe you should go back to flipping burgers. The data is not supposed to be stored on the device but if you insist on storing too much data locally instead of using the web then it is up to the developer to ensure data is encrypted and/or deleted when exiting the app.

    There's no sanction from Apple to use the iPad in business. They claim it's a consumer device, and not one for business. Ask them.

    I see.

    http://www.apple.com/support/ipad/enterprise/ [apple.com]

    http://www.apple.com/ipad/business/ [apple.com]

    http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/Enterprise_Deployment_Guide.pdf [apple.com]

    http://images.apple.com/ipad/business/pdf/iPad_Security_Overview.pdf [apple.com]

    You were saying? Are

  • Re:Steal the market? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Saturday November 20, 2010 @10:14PM (#34295138) Homepage

    That's funny I just went to a 2 week long training class where the instructors used an iPad to present all their lectures everyday all day long. Using Keynote presentations and videos here and there it was 10x better than the typical Power Point crap I've been subjected to.

    You can do plenty of "real work" on an iPad if you're not married to MS Office.

    Actually I forgot my own iPad delivered lecture that went smoother than previous ones using a laptop, partly because it fit on the podium I was stuck with and didn't distract the audience. It's presenter mode needs improvement but it did the job. I'll probably do the next few the same way since it's not as cumbersome as having a laptop on the stage.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthonymc l i n . c om> on Saturday November 20, 2010 @10:28PM (#34295204) Homepage

    There are no fleet management components or APIs.

    Read up on the iPhone Configuration Utility, http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/ [apple.com] I think you'll be surprised.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:3, Informative)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Sunday November 21, 2010 @12:17AM (#34295588)

    "There are no fleet management components or APIs.

    There are no policy controls to prevent data theft of give data protection at all (aside from DRM).

    There's no saction from Apple to use the iPad in business. They claim it's a consumer device, and not one for business. Ask them."

    I just made a policy for a client using one of Apple's tools to ensure that a PIN is used on iPhones connected to Exchange servers, as well as erase the device after 10 failed attempts. It isn't a significant security policy, but stricter rules were needed, I could do a good amount more when it comes to enterprise iPhone lockdown, be it ensuring backups via iTunes are encrypted, using passwords for unlocking the device instead of PINs, etc. The Apple tools even allow disabling of the iTunes store, disallowing music, disallowing the camera to be used, and many other things that some businesses might need.

    Apple's provisioning tools are not the greatest, but are decent.

    As for Apple in the enterprise, I think the people who have the wheel at Apple know that their strong point is in the consumer level market. Inventing new markets in the enterprise is a lot harder than finding a new gadget for people to buy. So, Apple's presence is enough to get them past the bean counters (such as native Exchange support and policy adherence), but they are not going to make an XServe type of machine ever again. It sucks that one has to use 12Us of rack space for a machine that used to take up 1U, but Apple never sold that many XServes to keep that model going.

    Apple knows its strengths and weaknesses. It knows it isn't going to be able to compete in the enterprise against the likes of MS or Oracle, the same way that IBM knows it can't compete in the commodity PC market and cut its losses.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:2, Informative)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @01:53AM (#34295978) Journal

    Yes, you can type with one hand. You are stuck with a regular keyboard layout [you might be able to switch to dvorak or localized ones, I use regular qwerty], other input types like swype would need the iPad to be jailbroken. You can also do 'thumb-typing', but it's quite a stretch in landscape mode.

    The iPad does have a decent boarder along all 4 sides so you can grip and hold it with one hand.

    You probably wouldn't want to do a lot of data entry this way [holding it with one hand while typing with the other], but I don't think most people would be comfortable doing that with any tablet.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:4, Informative)

    by emt377 ( 610337 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @03:36AM (#34296320)

    What can you[1] do with an iPad that I can't do with linux on any other tablet from 5 years ago?

    Do you really want an exhaustive list of hardware and platform differences? Let's see, anything 3G or GPS navigation related, run keynote presentations, in fact run any other commercial software to speak of, 15 hour battery life, 1 month sleep/standby, type on an onscreen keyboard, fit in an envelope, play angry birds or pvz, you you can't use it as a leveling tool due to lack of accelerometers, you can't buy and download music directly, etc etc. Clearly you're not dumb enough to ask for a list of differences, you just expect to retort that none of these are important, or only stupid people want them, or you can add external hardware to the tablet, or you shouldn't leave home without a charger or extra batteries, etc etc. But clearly enough people care about these things to pay for it, while merely having the ability to point at a screen by itself, in a fairly bulky package with poor performance and battery life, is not marketable in itself. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:2, Informative)

    by iinlane ( 948356 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @04:19AM (#34296504)

    There is no reason that you have to lose dexterity or have bad eyesight just because you get older.

    I've been told by a friend of mine that as you grow older you don't lose in "resolution" of eye sight but cornea loses flexibility and it will be harder to focus on near items.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:2, Informative)

    by w_dragon ( 1802458 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @07:44AM (#34297186)
    I have. And then it auto-updated and broke x.conf. I could have fixed it, but I really don't have time to screw around with that sort of crap any more when Windows has had video and sound drivers that just work for nearly 15 years now. Linux seems to finally have video to an acceptable level (so long as you don't want to use 3D), but sound is still a steaming pile.
  • Re:does not compute (Score:3, Informative)

    by CptNerd ( 455084 ) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Sunday November 21, 2010 @01:37PM (#34298958) Homepage

    Christ, does anybody on Slashdot understand that there are use cases other than their own and that what suits them may not suit another person?

    Lack of empathy is a pre-requisite for Slashdot commenting.

  • Re:does not compute (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperMog2002 ( 702837 ) on Sunday November 21, 2010 @02:44PM (#34299432)

    Linux seems to finally have video to an acceptable level

    Not even that. Just a couple months ago, I spent two days trying to get Ubuntu 10.04 to run at the native resolution of my bog standard 19" monitor, and finally concluded that it's either not possible, or so obscure that I'll never figure it out. Not doing anything fancy or unusual here, just trying to use an LCD that was lying around the office on the cheap on-board video card this machine came with. At this point, Linux on the server is great, but I've pretty much given up on Linux as a client OS. Even the "easy to use" distros don't even have the basics in place.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller