Aussie execs speak out on Apple's iPad

Aussie execs speak out on Apple's iPad

Summary: Key figures in Australia's information and communications technology community have been exuberant about the Apple iPad, calling it everything from "kick-ass" to a device that would be a tool for executives.

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TOPICS: Tablets
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Key figures in Australia's information and communications technology community have been exuberant about the Apple iPad, calling it everything from "kick-ass" to a device that would be a tool for executives.

Launched Thursday last week, the iPad is a tablet device based on Apple's iPhone operating system. It arrived in two flavours: Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi with 3G in 16, 32 and 64 gigabyte versions.

Australia's mobile giants warmed to the idea of being a carrier of the device, but an Australian Apple spokesperson could not confirm a release date for the 3G version.

Simon Hackett Internode

Simon Hackett
(Credit: Internode)

Being an aircraft enthusiast, ISP Internode managing director Simon Hackett believed the device would be "a great platform" for "kick-ass" touchscreen navigational assistance in a sports aviation plane.

"I think the device looks great. Not perfect, but definitely great. And most of the 'not perfect' are things that'll get further improved in software updates over time," Hackett said.

He believed the device stood to become "a genuine third category" between a smartphone and laptop. It was "a grown up smartphone" that had grown to become "a media device" rather than "a physically cut down laptop", like a netbook, he said.

The only fault Hackett could personally see with it was that it didn't have an SD card slot built-in. It would need a "silly dongle" on the side to do that, he said.

Airline Jetstar chief information officer Stephen Tame said he would be waiting for mark II before he purchased one for himself, but that he would be looking at the device as a tool for executives within the company. "I see it as a better tool for corporate information and collaboration," he said.

He did, however, believe Apple had some work to do when it came to explaining which device would be better to take on business trips. "It will be [an] interesting choice ranging from iPhone, iPad and perhaps MacBook Pro. Which two of the three would the exec pack to the business trip? I think Apple will have a challenge clearing up the messages around this."

Tame said the new platform would move Apple's App Store from toys to true functional business and consumer applications. "The larger screen size will significantly change the capability of available applications," he said.

He believed it may even see the end to in-flight entertainment on-board aeroplane flights. But he did not see it as a replacement of netbooks and notebook devices. This was because the keyboard and mouse remained "the most effective input toolsets".

Curtin University CIO Peter Nikoletatos

Peter Nikoletatos
(Credit: Curtin University)

Although Curtin University chief information officer Peter Nikoletatos said the device would add to the success of the iPod Touch and iPhone, he believed it was missing "key functionality", like an integrated camera.

The university has been looking at ways of integrating electronic readers into the university, which could make the iBook store a useful feature. Nikoletatos said that Curtin has "a few ideas in mind" as what to do with ebooks.

One of those was offering prescribed texts in digital format for students, something which could lead to a greener university. "The iPad may provide that capability," he said. Yet he believed that the 3G version would have to definitely be released in Australia for the device to become a success.

Gartner research director of mobile and wireless, Robin Simpson, believed Apple's way of "re-inventing" a market would allow the tablet to have success in Australia's consumer market.

"People have been waiting for this device for a long time and I have no doubt it will sell," he said. Yet how much, was difficult to forecast.

"The interesting thing is that the 3G versions have some $130 US premium which I think is a bit expensive and by the time it makes its way into Australia it'll be at least $150, maybe even $200 more expensive than the non 3G version," Simpson said. "Whether it'll be worthwhile for the telcos to offer it and will they subsidise it? That'll be the really interesting point."

According to Simpson, if telecommunications companies were to start subsidising it they would have to take a different approach to how they currently "bundle" netbooks with mobile data.

"I think most of the telcos except three have all been selling netbooks and bundling them with data to some extent. But the thing is they haven't really subsidised them. All they've done is spread the payments over 24 months and tied people into a contract. So it hasn't been very appealing at this stage."

If they were to start subsiding the iPad then the device had hope, Simpson said. "If they start subsidising it and selling it like other phones ... I think people will definitely go for it. But if people have to buy it out right and then get a data plan with it then that's probably where you'll find it might struggle a bit more."

According to News.com.au, research firm IDC reports that Australians bought just 12,000 tablet computers in the last quarter of 2009, most of which were purchased for business use.

But past research surrounding tablets was unlikely to affect Apple, Simpson said. "The fact that tablets may not have been doing well in the past really doesn't have a lot to do with how this device will go in the market.

"I think the fact that it's Apple and has the Apple ecosystem behind it and the App Store with about 140,000 apps now as well as the new SDK ... I'm sure this device will do very well in the market."

Topic: Tablets

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14 comments
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  • It is not a NetBook

    It seems that some people just "don't get it" - this is not a NetBook and it is not a "Tablet" ... it is an iPad and the Apps are what will sell it.

    This article features some who do "get it"!! Yay!

    But don't worry - those who don't "get it" will make a lot of noise while those who do "get it" will buy iPads.

    The whole Apple business model is built around those who "get it". And their quarterly figures show an increasing number of people do!
    anonymous
  • Multi-tasking??

    This is basic stuff.

    Read a book and chat with friends, just two things that I would want to do @ the same time. A lot more if I want to use it in non-social situations.

    Plus not sure I would want to sit on a bus/train reading a book with a screen that big - how to become in-flight entertainment 101 ;)
    [Ok, fickle - but true]

    May as well stick to a real book (that I can also pass around with friends - for free) and existing phone. Have a lot more fun with the $$ not spent here.
    anonymous
  • I dont get it

    >those who don't get it will make a lot of noise

    Nope, we will wait for the low cost full function tablet devices from the likes of ASUS and HP. Devices that have USB ports and will take our favourite OSs and applications. Slide out keyboards would be nice as well.

    Most of the initiatives that I see listed in the article would suit a proper application, with all the testing and certification that that implies, rather than an app-store hack. I cant really see Simon flying off into the sunset with his $4 app store flight navigation program. Jetstar with their corporate information and collaboration - would probably need applications that slot into a microsoft stack - the HP tablet offering with Win7 might be a better solution for them than a locked down ipad.

    >I think Apple will have a challenge clearing up the messages around this

    Pretty well summs it up
    anonymous
  • I want one

    Nuff said on the matter.
    anonymous
  • You read a different article?

    They get it? All I see is the typical CIO who knows zero about a computer.

    This is a consumer item and has no place in a corporate environment.

    "The only fault Hackett could personally see with it was that it didn't have an SD card slot built-in. It would need a "silly dongle" on the side to do that, he said."

    A silly dongle??

    "It was "a grown up smartphone" that had grown to become "a media device" rather than "a physically cut down laptop", like a netbook, he said."

    Does he know what an iPad is?

    "Curtin University chief information officer Peter Nikoletatos said the device would add to the success of the iPod Touch and iPhone, he believed it was missing "key functionality", like an integrated camera."

    How many executives require the 'key functionality' of an integrated camera???

    Are these monkeys for real?
    anonymous
  • Wow

    It's kind of embarrassing that the so called cream of Austrailia's IT industry cannot see through the marketing hype behind this.

    They obviously don't have to use a keyboard or pen very often and they obviously have "other people" who print things for them and back them up.

    This thing is a just marketing toy - another way of expanding Apple's lucrative Apps and Music businesses. That's all. It has/does nothing innovative or life changing.
    anonymous
  • Indirectly Environmental?

    Let's do away with paper...Perfect for meetings where paper is sure to be printed and thrown away just as quickly...
    anonymous
  • I think you're doing Simon Hacket a disservice

    As someone who does actually use small computer devices for flight navigation, I think Simon Hackett's comments are not unreasonable.

    The advantages I can see of the iPad for flight navigation are that it has a large touch screen, and it's pretty much all screen.

    However, I can see disadvantages also:
    - how can one power/recharge it in flight?
    - how can I mount it in the cockpit securely? (I'm not going to fly with it sitting on my lap!)
    - am I going to trust a mickey-mouse navigation application I bought for $4.95 from the App Store?
    - will people who write serious navigation applications port them to the iPad?

    The real problem I have with the iPad is that it seems to me a device in search of a market.

    I'm not going to do serious office-type activities on it (too limited and under-powered), I'm not going to use it as a phone (too big), I'm not going to use it as a multi-media device (the TV is much better at home, and I have no need to watch movies on the train), and I'm not going to use it as a mobile Internet device (too big on the one hand, too small on the other, no Flash).

    It's probably got a market which is already filled by tablet devices, but that's a small niche market, and Apple isn't going to make a fortune selling the iPad to people who manage warehouse inventory.

    Where the iPad has really got a market is all those people who just *have* to have the latest device, especially if it's from Apple.

    You really must hand it to Apple; they do make slick and sexy hardware, and their marketting is even slicker.

    However, they've yet to separate me and my hard-earned.
    anonymous
  • NOT!

    One of it's innovative selling points is that it doesn't have handwriting recognition like every other tablet out there.

    Pretty useless for meetings, hospital wards, couriers etc etc. Useless for any productive business task at least.
    anonymous
  • Ambivalent

    The iPad looks like a curate's egg, a betwixt and between product that doesn't seem to have a squarely focused market in its sights. Is it an expensive e-book reader? Is it a repository to cram with apps from Apple? I'm ambivalent about its usefulness.
    anonymous
  • Market? Ambivalent?

    Doesn't seem to have a squarely focused market in its sights? The market is YOU. You'll buy one of these devices, then purchase apps from the App Store. And Apple will get a cut. And you'll keep purchasing apps. And Apple will keep getting a cut.

    I'm sure Apple isn't ambivalent about its usefulness. I'm sure they'll find it extremely useful. Whether you will is another question 8-)
    anonymous
  • CIO stands for

    Complete
    Idiotic
    Obstructor
    They have no function other than to Ipad their own resume's. And yet people listen to the dribble they drool out!
    I call it the IDud and have already said so to a group presentation of IT staff!
    anonymous
  • Let's do away with paper ... LOL

    Except when you want to make notations against the item being presented at the meeting ... oops, cant switch to sticky note app (no multi-tasking). Oops cant print it off to make manual notes ... has anyone got a real business machine???
    anonymous
  • This time apple has released a lemon

    If you investigate the latest Windows 7 powered tablets you'll discover a world where you can actually expect full hand writing recognition that really works instantly, really long battery life, 3g/nextg support, models that will go out in the field and not break if dropped etc etc.

    This oversized iPod is nothing new, lacks key features already in far better products and can't actually do anything useful other than read books. If you want to actually replace paper or do some real work or even have fun investigate and play with tablet pc's online. Hate to say it but Microsoft showcased tablet pc's first and unlike phones, are years ahead of Apple.
    anonymous