It’s the Apps, Stupid…

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) surveyed more than 1,000 consumers who purchased iPads between the end of 2011 and first quarter of 2012. The survey showed that 21 percent of them replied that they would, or do, use the device for business. That’s especially interesting for a device that was initially panned as being “just a big iPod touch”. The blogosphere has picked up on the research and done its typical “blog-thing”- repeating the same argument and information over and over again. For example, a post on AllThingsDigital attributes it to the same two factors mentioned in the CIRP report and on other sites. The article begins with

Whether it’s due to increasing adoption of Bring Your Own Device policies or the rising adoption by business of the device itself, Apple’s iPad continues to make inroads into enterprise.

It then continues

So what’s behind that 8 percent increase in business usage? One possible explanation: With its Retina screen and 4G connection, the third-generation iPad is viewed as more suitable for business use. But that’s secondary to the more obvious explanation: Enterprise has warmed to the idea of the iPad as a standard-issue business sidearm.

Finally it notes

“Now that Apple has launched three generations of the iPad, it’s become clear that they intend it as a tool, not a toy, especially with the improved display and faster connection,” CIRP partner Michael Levin told AllThingsD. “Apple also appears to have pushed into the business segment, so perhaps that effort has started to pay off. On the other hand, business use still represents a fraction of all uses, relative to entertainment and games, so it’s still way early for Apple to declare victory in the enterprise space.”

via AllThingsD


All of this may be true. In fact, as we discussed last weekend, Mike’s iPad is his 80% laptop and Carly one-upped him by adding 10% to that. Yes, for Carly, and Mike, and Judie and Me and so many others the iPad is THE computing tool much of the time. And while the argument that BYOD and the powerful Retina display have a big impact that is not the case for the four of us (Mike and Carly are still quite restricted as to what device they can use for work) and, more importantly, overlooks what I believe is THE key factor that is turing the iPad into a powerful productivity tool- the apps.

Yes, to paraphrase a distant political slogan, “It’s the apps stupid”. Why? Because the apps that have either been released or significantly updated in the past year or so reflect a degree of power and flexibility that was not found in the initial crop of iPad apps. In fact, when the iPad was first released a large number of the apps that were iPad-specific or universal were gaming apps. Too often, productivity apps had to be used in “double-pixel mode”. (In fact I recall lamenting the dearth of iPad-specific apps on a podcast with one of our former writers.)

That has changed, significantly. From Evernote, to Line2 as a phone replacement, to DevonThink for iPad and the recently released Bento4, iPad apps have gained power and, in the process, often cut the cord. Whereas the iPad was initially an extension of desktop or laptop computing it now stands on its own. You no longer even need access to a computer running a full desktop operating system to set it up. Not convinced? Just look at OmniFocus or ToDo and their powerful task management. Look at Type on PDF and its ability to let you edit and sign documents right on your iPad. Check out LogMeIn Ignition and its amazing ability to let you access another computing device. Or Scanner Pro and ScanSnap, both of which let you do on your iPad much of what you would have done on your computer in the past.

Sure, business has warmed up to the iPad and the device itself is more powerful now than it was in the first two generations. But at the end of the day, the success of the iPad is all about the apps.

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2 replies

  1. I think having an iPad in an IT environment is a huge win for the poor IT guy. I’ve seen a number of IT areas where the IT folks had a “mobile station”, basically a monitor and laptop stand on wheels that they could wheel around to the trouble spot. What a pain. But with an iPad (or other tablet), and the right software set, life would be much easier. Or so it seems to me as a former IT guy myself!

    • It can be a convenient aid…for example, I like to use the free network sniffer Fing by Overlook Soft. I just log onto the appropriate network, start Fing, and in a moment it brings up a list of network resources: ip addresses, device name, MAC and mobo/vendor…it can scan services/ports, check wake on LAN…all in all a pretty nifty and elegant package.