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Apple's iPad 2 provokes IT anxiety

Matt Hamblen | March 4, 2011
User adoption of consumer-focused tablets for the workplace is 'tyranny,' one IT exec says

A more crippling limitation is Apple's lack of support for the iPad, specifically during the deployment of hundreds of new devices, Olinger said.

"The hardest thing with the original iPads was how to activate nearly 300 machines at one time," he said. "With four people working activations, they could only get 40 done in a day."

While Olinger said he has become an Apple convert in recent years and lauds the intuitive nature of its interface, he thinks the reputation of the vendor has fallen down in terms of overall enterprise support. That lack of support makes it costly to use Apple products on a large scale, he added.

"If Apple could get their enterprise applications together, they could give Microsoft a run for their money," he said. "Starting with iPhone, they are backing into the enterprise."

Codack at TD Bank is deploying long-term tests and trials of various devices, including the iPad, partly to evaluate how much IT support will be needed.

For smaller companies, support concerns for the iPad 2 don't offset the benefits gained from the innovative ways it can be used.

James Burland, who writes the iPad Creative blog and works as an assistant at Anglebury Press, a small printing company on the south coast of England, said he expects the extra horsepower will provide a general boost in the performance of the Google Docs service the company uses for job planning.

"We are also toying with [providing] live video support to customers via FaceTime, because many have either a Mac or an iPhone, and using an iPad to drive a very large display on the factory floor to provide job progression updates and general information," Burland said.

Gold said that RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook would be a good fit for companies concerned about Apple's support operation.

Motorola recently acquired a small enterprise management company, 3LM, to enhance the enterprise management and security capabilities of Android-based mobile systems, Gold said. He did note that without such enhancements, plain vanilla Android is "even worse than iOS" in enterprise manageability and security.

"End users love the concept of iPad," Gold concluded. "But IT ultimately has to deploy and pay for the ongoing device maintenance and control efforts. This is a real cost to companies that users don't usually see or appreciate, but it's real and substantial nonetheless."


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