Apple’s latest tablet is faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor—and includes two cameras and other new features and apps that IT managers say will lure many corporate workers to use it in their jobs.
Thus IT personnel know they will have to devote significant time to supporting yet another popular consumer device.
“I have coined this ‘the tyranny of consumerisation,’” said Dave Codack, vice president of employee technology and network services at TD Bank Financial Group. “The enterprise is not dictating technology with these devices; the revolt is coming from the end-user community.”
Codack’s group, which supports some 81,000 workers, is already testing the original iPad device for various business uses while laying plans to test the iPad 2 and the soon-to-ship BlackBerry PlayBook tablet from Research In Motion.
Codack says he’s no Luddite and notes that TD Bank’s IT staffers “seem to be excited” about the iPad 2’s new dual camera, dual processor and improved graphics.
“With employees using these devices in their day-to-day lives, it’s inevitable they will expect enterprise support to eventually bridge these two worlds,” he added.
Analysts say that companies face huge challenges because the iPad 2 was not made with IT operations in mind.
“Apple did not address this at all with iPad 2,” said Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates. “I think they missed an opportunity.”
Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney added that Apple encourages businesses to adopt iPads but “has no intention of becoming a Dell, an HP or Lenovo as far as enterprise support.”
Jude Olinger, CEO of The Olinger Group, a broad user of first-generation iPads, said the iPad 2 offers potential workplace benefits but also presents IT support challenges.
The market researcher bought 284 first-generation iPads last April to conduct shopper surveys at 134 U.S. malls.
Olinger now plans to buy 20 iPad 2 tablets, partly to see whether the new two-way FaceTime video chat capability can enhance the process of conducting surveys remotely.
Any benefits would be at least somewhat offset by Apple’s lack of iPad support, which had slowed the research firm’s initial iPad deployment process, Olinger said.
“The hardest thing with the original iPads was to activate nearly 300 machines at one time,” he said. “[The] four people working activations could only get 40 done a day.
“If Apple could get their enterprise [act] together, they could give Microsoft a run for their money,” Olinger added. “They are backing into the enterprise.”
Gold suggested that RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet could be a good fit for companies concerned about Apple’s level of support.
“End users love the concept of iPad,” Gold concluded. “But IT ultimately has to deploy and pay for ongoing device maintenance and control. This is a real cost that users don’t usually appreciate.”