I suppose like most people who work in the related industries, I have been having lots of conversations and thoughts about the iPad recently. Nearly all of them have ended with two conclusions: That the iPad is game changing (something I have not always agreed with); and no-one is really sure how. Well now I am convinced and I think I do know how.
The “not sure” conversations have all looked for applications around the home. I have seen people sat on the train with tip toes trying to type on the iPad and that is definitely not the way forward. So if the input nature of it is weak then the home applications relate to it becoming a coffee-table device for looking at photos, social media, maps, websites etc. All these I suspect will be true but the biggest application for the iPad I believe will now be as a business tool.
Two weeks ago, the Economist reported that a company, whose head office was located in Bermuda, had rolled out iPad’s to 500 senior managers globally with the primary purpose of enabling them to view the monthly management information pack. Previously, this monthly pack of four inches of freshly printed paper was couriered around the world to each of the managers. It was reported that the company saved the cost of the iPad’s in the first month alone, although it is hard to see that precisely, but savings in a short cycle are certainly achievable.
A large media company in the UK has gone down a similar route issuing iPad’s to its key managers although the purpose at this stage is not clear. They have many online properties and spend a substantial amount of time reviewing them so this alone might provide the purpose. And these two examples are enough to convince me that the iPad will become an important business tool.
Add to these the ability of the iPad to do, what many, myself included have been sceptical about, replace books and magazines because of it’s own “feel” and I think it will be prolific. When I look in my own bag and I see that I am carrying the Economist, New Media Age, Revolution and Management Today plus a book and company papers. Replacing these for a single, lighter device is certainly desirable and if their iPad versions (if and when they arrive) are anything as good as The Times (well done Applied Works) I will have no hesitation but to put my luddite ways behind me and go digital for my reading.