Daniel Eran Dilger
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Apple to target iPad at business users with added features


Prince McLean, AppleInsider

Apple’s new iPad isn’t just a new product for consumers; the company is targeting the new device at business users with features designed to make it attractive to the enterprise market, AppleInsider has learned.

Apple to target iPad at business users with added features – sources
Apple has long had a business sales group ready to sell Macs to any interested companies, and with the release of iPhone 2.0, the Cupertino-based company made it very clear that it wanted the iPhone to fit the needs of corporate users.

That has helped stoke a healthy interest in the iPhone platform among companies who develop custom mobile software. Apple hardened the iPhone’s security profile, added Exchange support, and created mass configuration and deployment tools for the device.

For the iPad, those same corporate-friendly iPhone features will all continue to work, thanks to the iPad being build on the same software foundation. However, the iPad adds a variety of new things that business users should find very attractive.

iPad in the Enterprise

For starters, Apple has ported over iWork, its Office-compatible productivity suite, while giving it a multitouch makeover. Aligned with the idea of using the iPad as a Keynote presentation tool, the iPad now supports VGA output for driving a projector directly. Users can markup slides and point with a virtual laser pointer as the presentation continues.

Sources who talked to Apple’s business unit also say the company is working on some additional features that haven’t been publicly announced yet. These include support for direct network printing from iPad apps, as well as support for accessing shared files from a local file server.

The iPhone can already access files in users’ mailboxes or stored on web servers; using Apple’s free iDisk app, it can also access files from the WebDAV-based MobileMe cloud file server. The company is said to be creating a similar app to access standard local file shares within an office setting, which would be a rather trivial undertaking given the iPhone OS’ existing savvy with reading iWork, Office, PDF, and other common file types.


The iWork apps Apple demonstrated each load their documents without needing a conventional file browser. Just like the iPhone’s existing Photos, Notes, and iTunes apps, their documents are managed by the app itself, rather than being strewn around a filesystem for users to organize on their own. The iPad will sync documents with iTunes just like the iPhone currently does, in addition to accessing cloud, web, and local file shares.

Google plans to implement a similar app-centric method for working with files on its forthcoming Chrome OS operating environment for netbooks, rather than defaulting to a 1980s style “look for your files on your drive” interface that Macs and PCs have used since the dawn of computing.

iPhone in the Enterprise

Unlike Google’s overlapping Android and Chrome OS initiatives, Apple has a unified operating system strategy that scales from the iPhone to the iPod touch to the iPad, and it enjoys a clear head-start in both apps and in Enterprise sales. By the end of 2009, Apple was estimated to have sold 2 million iPhones to corporate accounts, giving the company a 7% share of the enterprise smartphone market. Another five million iPhones were estimated to be in mixed business use by individuals.

In its most recent earnings report earlier this week, Apple noted that the iPhone was ranked #1 in satisfaction by JD Power and Associates for second year in a row, and was rapidly growing in the enterprise, with 70% of the Fortune 100 companies in the US now actively piloting or deploying it. Internationally, Apple’s COO Tim Cook said about half of the Financial Times 100 companies are doing the same.


Asked by a Goldman Sachs analyst about what the company was doing to drive higher corporate growth, Cook answered, “We’ve done a tremendous amount on the product side itself, implementing tons of features in the latest OS for iPhone that our enterprise customers had desired.”

For more on the iPad, see AppleInsider’s hands-on preview.

  • deemery

    I think the absence of external storage (USB stick, USB/FW hard drive, perhaps most significantly the lack of an SD slot) is a real disabler here. It’s not clear Apple wants to expose file-system/Finder like functionality, which I think would be key to this as more than just a “terminal off the cloud”. And I’m not sure corporate security would be happy with WebDAV as the file transfer mechanism to/from the corporate world.

    That’s not to say the iPad doesn’t have a future as a ‘road warrior’ or targeted-application machine. I could see this being used by hospitals or doctor offices, or for salesman/order entry or inventory.

  • miloh

    What’s wrong with a “terminal off the cloud?” That’s the part I’m not understanding. Yes, there are some things one cannot presently do with such a system, but so what? There are some things I can’t do with my Braun coffee maker.

  • johnholley

    The real weakness for me, as business user, if the inability of the iPad iWork apps to save back to Office formats. If I could do that then the iPad would be a natural extension of my work environment and provide all the things I need to do when on the road: surf, email and view/edit work documents. That being said, there is Doucments To Go and QuickOffice, but it would be great if the iWork apps were an “end to end” solution.

    [Steve Jobs indicated to Walt Mossberg on video that iWork apps can save to Word, etc just like their desktop counterparts – Dan]

  • lpeckham

    (To deemery)

    Mmm… from a security point of view, wouldn’t companies *prefer* mobile devices that couldn’t download data to an external, unsecured memory device? (The lack of a camera also makes sense for a device used in secure situations.)

  • domsin

    As much as I hope the iPad see success in the business marketplace I doubt it will. I work at a company where the IT guys wear t-shirts that say “I’m a PC”. Seriously. These people are lost.

  • http://www.metrokids.ca Conrad MacIntyre

    I don’t understand why a Finder would be so bad. I would like access to my filesystem. Even if it was through a Preferences option or something. I would like to be able to download files to a local machine (iPad), and then upload them to a networked machine somewhere else. As it is now I need a separate flash drive if I just want to bring a file and not my whole computer with me. I know there are apps for that, but they all suck. These devs (to be fair) are doing the best they can, but I want a filesystem!!

    Having said all that, I still want an iPad. Especially for Networked printing and file sharing. I just want those features to go a little deeper.

  • bartb

    A little off-topic, but I’m really interested how you feel about Multitasking and the iPad… because, people keep saying “it can’t do multitasking”. But what is Multitasking precisely?

    You hear them say that you can’t run program X in the background (ie. listening to Pandora) while using program Y (ie. Pages). Okay, that is not possible on the iPad/iPhone. Probably never will be.

    You also hear them say that you, for instance, can’t use Mail and Browse the Internet at the same time. Well, I cannot use Mail and browse the Internet *at the same*?! time on my MacBook Pro. I need to switch to the appropriate application first.
    On the iPad (or iPhone) you can switch between Apps and continue where you left off. Not all iPhone/iPad Apps do that properly, but that is because they don’t follow the programming guidelines. When Apps have a persistent state, they are able to Multitask like most people perceive multitasking.

    Image that when you switch apps on MacOSX, the apps would:
    1. shut down when you switch to another
    2. load up when you switch back
    3. load/show all the previous documents and position the cursor the way is was when you left.
    …then you would have one active application in memory and still have (perceived) multitasking.

    9 out of 10 times that kind of multitasking is perfectly suitable. I don’t need multitasking, I need persistent state!

    I can only think of one situation where you need process-running-in-background multitasking, and that is listening to music.
    The iPod app has got that covered. (Again, yes, you can’t use Pandora).

    Are there any other situations where you need real background multitasking? Other than running MySQL or an Apache webserver.

  • miloh

    @Conrad — In your opinion, what benefit would a filesystem provide? Do you foresee the need to manage large volumes of files on the device itself? In my view, that stuff should live on a server somewhere and only be loaded onto the iPad for the rare instances when no network is available.

  • ulicar

    O, that is the answer for the file upload in browser? There is none! I could understand that feature missing in my iPhone, but for a tablet? WTF? This is getting better and better :(

  • bartb

    should be: Okay, that is not possible on the iPad/iPhone for third-party developers.

  • http://www.isights.org/ whmlco

    @miloh – They seem to want you to load it up with tons of music and photos and movies and TV shows. But you think it should only hold a half-dozen or so of your latest work documents?

    Keep in mind that half the units do NOT have 3G, and as such, and in many cases, are not connected to the cloud or to a server.

  • http://berendschotanus.com Berend Schotanus

    OK, I see this kind of features is probably not so far away from my “dream” as described in my comment on the next post.

  • http://bkpfd.org qka

    Does anyone else believe that a VGA cable hanging from an iPad is contrary to the idea of the iPad? While I fully understand the desire to get video out of the iPad and onto another screen, the hanging cable cuts down on the freedom of movement. Maybe we’ll have to wait to see it in action; maybe some one will develop a wireless solution. Right now, I see the iPad being limited to a lectern or table top; that would keep the presenter focused on the iPad and not the audience, which is desirable.

  • miloh

    @whmlco — First of all, every unit has WiFi support, so they are all network capable. Second, network availability is extremely common and only going to increase. Third, trying to use this device as a business PC is foolish in my opinion. As people are so fond of pointing out, many of the features are lacking. Fourth, most organized businesses already have policies about keeping files on the network. I constantly hear horror stories from IT personnel about disasters resulting from employees who were “saving stuff to their C drive.”

    I echo the sentiments of those who are perplexed at people’s response to the iPad. Apple said it was a different way of doing things, and yet so many seem to be responding with complaints that it doesn’t work like a PC. Duh!

  • ChuckO

    Many of you guys need to RELAX! This is mainly a device to compete with both netbooks and e-readers. Why spend $600 to get two crummy devices when Apple has this super cool single product for $500 (or $600 or $700 or $800, etc).

    Now it’s also a continuation of the forward looking design revolution they started with the iPhone but Apple is SMART!!! They aren’t trying to get you geeky looneys to cream your jeans over a bunch of BS when they are trying to move people comfortably into a new world. They also aren’t trying to crater their MacBook sales by offering a device that would cause that to happen.

    So get with the program! Expectations for this thing were RETARDED (sorry PC people). Have you seen the video of the event? Look at the beautiful job they did on the software! What an amazing piece of hardware. This is only the beginning.

    But especially all you wackos that are complaining about how it doesn’t work just like a Mac (Finder compaliners, etc) THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF THESE DEVICES!!!! GET A NEW MACBOOK IF YOU HAVE MONEY BURNING A HOLE IN YOUR POCKET!!!!

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Ah Daniel, you could do reading my comment on your hands on with iPad, it would have made your article so much more interesting

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  • http://www.shermandorn.com Sherman Dorn

    I suspect that the file-security issue will be one barrier, but midlevel managers will do things on their own until executives demand that the IT department figure out how to make it work. (Whoever can write apps to make it secure will be making a bundle…)

    The other barrier is the need for document annotation, esp. PDFs. Aji Annotator is the logical iPhone app to extend here, and there are soft mutterings from the company that they’ll be doing something native for iPad (http://jbrink.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=120). I don’t know if Zosh would work on the iPad or as a generic annotator, but given the e-mail transmission route for Zosh, I can’t imagine that would meet muster for confidential documents (either for businesses or schools, which is the other obvious market for a light device with document markup).

  • http://randomcrates.com/ Supa

    I think the iPad has potential in a corporate environment. I’m not sure that companies will want to buy a few hundred dollars for another device on top of laptops, cell phones, modem cards, etc. However, I can see the iPad making a huge splash in sales. Imagine sitting around a meeting table being able to pass around an iPad and give your customers immediate intimate access to your products. We just need to make sure our companies have the content.