iPad's only problem in the enterprise: It's not a Windows device (readers)

On the eve of the next-generation iPad unveiling, Larry Dignan wagered that Apple's tablet would grow to become more of an enterprise device than a personal one. Readers were happy to take that bet.
Written by David Grober, Contributor

New iPads arriving this week put ZDNet's Larry Dignan in a betting mood (Apple's latest iPads: Why business use will ultimately trump personal):

"Apple's iPhone has a lot of business traction, but the iPad is close behind and has a better shot than the Mac ever will in the enterprise. The tablet market is going to be dominated by cheap almost throwaway devices, but Apple can preserve margins with a corporate spin....I'm betting that over time the iPad will be seen as a more of an enterprise device than a personal one."

More than a few readers were eager to take that bet. Here's a sampling of TalkBack comments:

"I'll take Windows 10

"I'll take Windows 10 for enterprise use, including Windows 10 tablets. You take the iPad. Winner is amount of 'systems' deployed in the enterprise. What do you care to wager?"  -- Sean Foley

"End-user device with limited capabilities

"The iPad is severely limited. Factor in the lack of USB access to removable media or non-proprietary network printing and the iPad is still an end-user device with limited capabilities.

"In the end, even if the iPad makes serious inroads into the enterprise, it will be Microsoft, it's software developers, and its partners, who will be delivering cloud-based Windows-compatible applications to these Apple (and Android) devices. The money to be made from theses cloud-based enterprise-level services far exceeds the money to be made by selling tablets to enterprise." -- M Wagner

"AirPrint? Really?

"Why would I want to add another $200-$300 to the iPad investment for an AirPrint device when the Windows tablet can do this with ANY printer using the standards that have been in place for over a decade? I can take my tablet to work and print to any of our 5 shared printer/copiers (which cost over $20,000) but the iPad users cannot. We're not going to buyout a 3 year lease for 80 grand because someone believes the iPad is smart - even if AirPrint is 'ubiquitous'." -- tech_e

"On the other hand...

"That's where Microsoft goes wrong. They still want you to take "Home Depot on a Truck" when all you need is an electric drill. The future IS NOT in "the amount of systems"; it's about how light, quick, flexible, and personizable the device can be. Apple will win hands down, with Android playing catch-up in second place. Microsoft will be back down the road, pulling that truck with their teeth." -- nHeenan73

"One problem: It's not a Windows device

"What both iPad and Android tablets, as well as Windows RT models to a large degree, ask users to do is to leave behind the powerful capabilities of a Windows operating system that can do practically anything asked of it; to leave behind an operating system that the entire internet was largely developed to work very well with; and then to take up a new, more restrictive OS on a device with not only smaller storage capacities, but often a complete inability to do any number of things their Windows laptop or desktop could do as a matter of routine with a few clicks." -- Cayble


"iOS devices are not manageable in the enterprise with the tools that the IT security folks need, with the control that they need. While there is rudimentary control for iOS policies (using separate tools), there is no integration with Active Directory or Group Policy. Enterprises then have to manage iOS (albeit just password management, remote wipe, etc) with MDM tools, at a huge additional fee, and lose a whole lot of important functions. Unless iOS someday had deep integration with Windows Active Directory and Group Policy, iOS will always be a sideshow, not a work computer." -- korebreach

"Marketing for Apple?

"I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone ...You make the screen a couple inches bigger and suddenly it's a great business machine? It's as if you've never worked in business and don't understand what people need." -- Speednet

"One size does not fit all

"I was a CIO for 20 years. When the iPad 1 came out, I had one in my hand -- and I took it to work every day (Until the 2 and then the 3 came out!). I also purchased my first PC back in 1979, two years before the IBM PC was announced. The iPad was actually a vastly better platform for work than the original PCs were for several years. New platforms take time to evolve and become increasingly valuable tools. And no tool does it all. Some people could not live with out a powerful PC with vast amounts of removable and non-removable storage. Others just read their mail and participate in WebEx meetings.

"The iPad is actually a great tool for the latter group. I loved it for WebEx meetings, processing email, reviewing presentations and documents. I even had a signature application that allowed me to easily sign documents no matter where I was. As long as I had connectivity, I could quickly review and sign documents to keep my people moving forward in their jobs. Most enterprise value is in facilitating the execution of business processes-- not programming. And a large number of knowledge based business process activities can be done on a tablet like an iPad. Not all, by any means. I still loved Excel and my PC for cranking out budgets and PowerPoint for creating presentations -- activities that required a lot of typing and/or sophisticated formulas. But I generally did not need that with me all day every day and quick fixes could be done via Terminal Server from the iPad.

"I think there is a significant role for the iPad in the enterprise. It is already well underway in winning the hearts and minds of corporate types." -- AncientGeek2

"As with everything... yes, and no... and maybe

"I don't think the size argument as a whole is that viable. Everyone has a preference on size. I have users that want a lightweight tablet and will take whatever size they can get. I have some that want a full-size keyboard - not a separate one - and will want a laptop. I have a couple that want a large tablet for specialized needs. Some businesses/users that want or need a tablet, but many will not. As for whether it's an iPad or Windows tablet - it depends on software. iPad will not work as a complete solution in our business. Windows will - because the software is already in use." -- tech_e 

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