Apple has won over once-tentative enterprises, in recent years, and the new iPad is no exception. However, its arrival may bring as many challenges as benefits, especially for the IT professionals with the task to support it within their networks.
"The screen is certainly a great asset of the new iPad, and considering how many of the clients we are talking to use iPads to show brochures or other marketing material, they could certainly benefit from it," Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner research vice president, told eWEEK. "In the U.S., the addition of LTE Long-Term Evolution might appeal to some organizations whose users are particularly mobile and therefore more reliant on cellular coverage and speed."
IHS iSuppli also sees tremendous potential in the education markets, such as institutional purchases and direct sales to students.
"Apple has been aggressively courting educators, hosting events at its Cupertino, Calif., campus and expanding its offerings of digital textbooks and educational applications," the firm said in a March 7 report.
The iPad 2 will play a substantial role in the education market, as school districts work to match ever-shrinking budgets with demand for the latest technology, added Rhoda Alexander, an IHS senior manager of tablet and monitor research.
IHS noted that Apple also is expanding into "corporate and specialty markets, such as medical and transportation," and that its appeal for more than consumer users "provides additional insulation for Apple from the price wars currently besetting the Android marketplace."
Enterprise mobile device management company Zenprise, in a new report, found that 57 percent of the organizations enrolling in its Zencloud solution are using iOS--compared with 33 percent using Android and 10 percent using Windows Mobile--and that it expects that to increase with the release of the newest iPad, as well as the reduced iPad 2.
However, three of the new iPad's greatest selling points--its sharp screen, 4G LTE capabilities and speedy processor--are also stirring worry.
Guggenheim Partners analyst Sing Yin said in a research note, according to a Mar. 8 Reuters report, that current data plans from AT&T and Verizon "seem ill-matched for the new LTE iPad, which has the potential to consume a lot of data."
Yin added that "multi-device data plans could make the LTE option more attractive."
Computer World wrote the same day that workers choosing to enjoy the high-definition display by downloading videos or other large files through WiFi, instead of the more costly LTE, could easily bog down a corporate network in, say, a 100-person office.
Given the new iPad's features, Blue Coat Systems Senior Product Manager Ed O'Connell said in the report, enterprises are more likely than in the past to find the iPad acceptable, "and that means a tremendous amount of added network traffic."
Gartner's Milanesi adds that bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, in which workers bear the cost of their devices, could help to temper the arrival of the new iPad, and its effects.
"BYOD is still the great majority of iPads in the enterprise, and when it is down to the individual, many will want the new gadget more because of the fact that it is new than as a direct benefit to their productivity," Milanesi told eWEEK. "If the iPads have been rolled out by the organization, it might be less common to see upgrades this soon from an iPad 2, but certainly from the first iPad ."
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