Verizon Gets the iPad

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 10-15-2010

Hot Topics: Mobile Devices, McAfee's Security Initiatives

Leading the way among this week's hot topics is the news of Verizon finally getting its hands on the Apple iPad. Plus, Microsoft debuted Windows Phone 7, and smartphones running the platform will launch in the U.S. next month. Meanwhile, debate rages on over whether the Apple iPad or the RIM PlayBook is best for enterprise customers. And Apple is planning an event to showcase its latest Mac OS X version. Chances are, these stories matter quite a bit to you and your operation. After all, with Verizon selling the iPad, it gives you a wider range of carriers and makes the device more feasible for a nationwide enterprise deployment. It's unclear for now whether Windows Phone 7 could be an enterprise mobile OS of choice when it finally launches in November--many questions remain unanswered for business users.

Verizon Gets the iPad

Apple and Verizon announced on Oct. 14 that the carrier will start selling iPad in its stores. It will offer the Wi-Fi only models, along with a MiFi hotspot that will enable users to connect to the carrier's 3G network.

The CIO Insight

As you know, iPad's limitations to a single carrier creates problems for an enterprise with scattered users who many not have access to AT&T's 3G service. In addition, the service itself has come under criticism from some users. Having iPad on Verizon creates a more viable enterprise scenario. On the downside, the fact that the tablets will be Wi-Fi only is a drawback. Granted, using the MiFi hotspot will get you on the 3G network, but it runs counter to the simplicity of the iPad itself. Nonethtless, Verizon says it will charge customers only $20 per month for access to 1GB of data. If nothing else, the Verizon iPad makes the tablet a bit more appealing as you consider whether or not to deploy such a device in your operation.

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 will finally hit U.S. store shelves in November. The company's CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the software's unique widget-style layout, and introduced several devices from LG, Samsung and HTC at a launch event in New York City October 11. The event also heralded the news that AT&T will be offering Phone 7 devices. T-Mobile is also planning an array of Phone 7 devices.

The CIO Insight

For years, Microsoft has been saying that it will deliver a viable iOS competitor, and it finally got around to it. Meanwhile, the company's smartphone market share has been harmed. Of even greater concern is that many enterprises deployed line-of-business devices such as Motorola or Intermec handhelds running on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5 and 6 platforms, and Phone 7 has no compatibility with those platforms, which leaves enterprises out in the cold as far as upgrading those users. Whether the Phone 7 devices will meet the needs of the business workers who roam the carpeted halls remains to be seen. It offers an attractive user interface and advanced integration with the Microsoft Office shite of applications, but the platform has a lot of catching up to do. BlackBerry remains the corporate standard in the U.S., and enterprise activations of Apple and Android smartphones have been accelerating.

iPad or PlayBook?

The RIM PlayBook tablet is catching a lot of attention in the enterprise as of late. Some wonder if the device, which is scheduled to launch in early 2011, will be able to appeal to enterprise customers looking for more than just a 7-inch tablet that lacks 3G out of the box.

The CIO Insight

Realizing that, numerous debates have been raging over whether the iPad or the PlayBook is best for corporate customers. Admittedly, coming to a conclusion at this stage, when the PlayBook hasn't even been released, can be difficult. But the tablet does lack 3G connectivity, it features a new, unproven operating system, and it won't have anywhere near the number of applications available to the iPad. That certainly doesn't sound like a corporate winner right now.

Apple's Latest Mac OS X

Apple will hold an event next week that will showcase Mac OS X Lion, a new version of the company's venerable operating system. Details on the new operating system are scant right now, but most expect a Mac-filled event, complete with the possibility of some new computers.

The CIO Insight

Of course, Windows PCs continue to dominate the enterprise, but devices with Mac OS X have found a niche in certain sectors. It's worth watching Mac OS X as previous iterations appear to have served as inspiration for Windows developers to improve that operating system (witness Windows 7). In other words, some of the better features that come to Mac OS X might eventually make their way to Windows, too. There are clear user interface benefits to the Mac OS X and Apple has addressed many of the compatibility issues with Windows aplications to enable the platform to be a viable enterprise alternative.

McAfee' "Security Connected" future

McAfee, which was recently acquired by Intel, discussed a security strategy recently that will attempt to take information gathered from its products to improve overall device security. The idea is to provide a well-rounded approach to security and stop the rapid breakout of threats across a company's network.

The CIO Insight

Trying to stay ahead of malicious hackers is among the most arduous tasks CIOs face. And unfortunately, there seems to be no end in sight. Whether or not McAfee's idea will work remains to be seen. But it's at least nice to see a company of that magnitude starting to think outside the box. After all, in today's security landscape, the more companies that do that, the greater the chances that you'll keep your sensitive data safe.