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iPad Is Business Ready: Counterpoint

The folks over at PC World Business Center are running an article titled, "Five Features the iPad Needs For Business" by Tony Bradley. Bradley raises some interesting points as to why the iPad isn't quite ready for the prime-time suit and tie type. Naturally, I disagree. If you want to learn why the iPad is already business ready, read on...

Dave Courbanou

March 16, 2010

5 Min Read
iPad Is Business Ready: Counterpoint

The folks over at PC World Business Center are running an article titled, “Five Features the iPad Needs For Business” by Tony Bradley. Bradley raises some interesting points as to why the iPad isn’t quite ready for the prime-time suit and tie type. Naturally, I disagree. If you want to learn why the iPad is already business ready, read on…

Obviously, you’ll get a lot more out of this point / counter point if you head on over and give Tony Bradley a read. But here are the five points, in order, that Bradley thinks the iPad needs..

1) Expandable Memory: Bradley argues that if you need to get beyond the 16, 32 or 64 GB of data that the iPad will supply you with, you’ll be out of luck. Apple should’ve included an expandable memory card slot. In reality? Well…

Let’s try an experiment. Do yourself a favor. Do you have a document folder that you keep all your work stuff in? Not music, or pictures, but your Word, Excel, Power Point, all that good stuff in. Tell me how much space that takes up. If it’s beyond 5GB, I’ll be very impressed. Anyone buying this for the working world will most likely want to buy the 64GB model so they can cram their music, movies and work on there, and still have space left over for apps. As a former helpdesk technician in corporate America, I can assure you I never ran by users files that needed to be backed up that exceeded about 5GB (engineers excluded…)

Okay, I understand that it’s a pretty weak argument. “You can’t use that much space up!” isn’t really a rebuttal. Besides, Bradley is arguing more than the expandability is absent, not that you’d actually use 64GBs. Well, there is expandability. It’s just not physical. It’s call the cloud, and anyone familiar with GMail, Mobile.me or any other cloud-based storage solution knows that there’s plenty of iPhone (soon to be iPad) apps to go around to help you get at all your documents, even if they don’t have space on your iPad.

2) USB ports: Bradley argues that because there aren’t any USB ports, you can’t plug in any external drives, webcams, headsets, or anything else you’d want to use with the iPad. This argument falls pretty flat. The iPad has the 30-pin dock connector, and we all know that the iPhone and the iPod have more accessories, attachments and additions than you can shake a stick at. Also, did you notice Apple showcased the keyboard dock with the iPad? I’m sure that’s the first of many attachments you’ll see. Just because it’s not a USB port doesn’t mean there isn’t room for external accessories.

3) Video Camera: Bradley states that a front-facing camera was one of the most anticipated and speculated features of the iPad, but it was absent. He actually doesn’t have an argument here, just a few words and some general malaise at the fact it wasn’t included. There’s speculation it’ll come out in an iPad 2.0, however, with lots of SDK hints and other hardware-related nuances that show there could easily be a camera added. Bradley and I are on the same page here, a camera would’ve been a golden feature for video conferencing, but I just don’t see the lack of the camera as a deal-breaker for most.

4) Multitasking: We’ve all heard it before — there’s no ‘true’ multi-tasking in the iPhone, and there won’t be for the iPad either. Bradley concedes that there is some limited multitasking capabilities, but they’re under lock and key by Apple. He also notes that, yes, there is the question of whether you really need multitasking for such a device.

But Bradley goes off a little when he claims that the display of the iPad  is “implying an obligation on the part of Apple to allow multitasking.” In reality, it does no such thing. Apple isn’t obligated to do anything with it’s own device other than what it damn well pleases.

Bradley says that the screen could display two windows side-by-side, but at a 1024 x 768 resolution, I’m not sure I’d want two windows side by side. Maybe quick switching between two, but certainly not side by side. Bradley, like myself, notes that Apple can tweak the software whenever they see fit, so they could add ‘true’ multitasking whenever they’d please.

But realistically, the iPad is designed to do one thing at at time, as best it can, and most users of the iPhone OS will note that Apple has some interesting ways of integrating what you want to inside a singular app, without relying on multiple apps at a time.

5) Alternate Browsers: Bradley  notes  that Safari doesn’t have what business professionals want. He says Safari isn’t the most functional browser in the world either. (Which is wrong. There are tons of extensions for Safari, just like Firefox and I.E.) He throws up a stat showing that Safari is ranked only 4th out of all browser usage on the web. And he’s right, that stat is perfectly accurate.

But something that Bradley overlooks is the simple fact that when dealing with the iPad, not plain old Safari. He correctly notes that the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod Touch use Safari, but he neglects to mention what version. It’s Mobile Safari. And according to Stat Counter, the #1 mobile browser in the United States? It’s Mobile Safari. Plus, it’s only 2nd to Opera Mobile world wide.

Okay. So here’s the bottom line: if the iPhone has grabbed the attention of the entire United States as the number 1 mobile browser, how is this going to make the iPad any less of a contender if people are using their iPhones for business already?

Bradley waits for an iPad version 2.0. I’m waiting for people to be eating crow.

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