Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is the iPad ready for business?

Apple is claiming that 4 out 5 top 500 companies are evaluating the iPad as a business device.
I did want to know if the iPad is an alternative to a notebook.
I tried the last two weeks to use my iPad as much as possible. First i thought it works well or even better. I have to explain that i am not a programmer or designer. I am director who does manage a team. Therefore I have no real heavy duty to perform on my notebook, if i don't want to.
I spend most of my time in meetings, writing emails, reading documents, creating PowerPoint decks and surf the Internet. The iPad can do all this and does not take up so much space like a notebook.
Before, I used my iPad mostly for writing my blog and surf at home the Internet or to read my emails. I had it the last 8 months every day in the office but it was most likely the most expensive digital picture frame you can get.

I have the 3G 64GB iPad with an original Apple external keyboard.

In the two weeks I did want to use my iPad as much as possible.
The first issue I did run into (which is not only an Apple problem) my wifi did not work well. We have in our office a few wifi routers but the reception is not always the best. The iPad lacks of course of wired Ethernet, therefore i had to use 3G. 3G is sometimes slow plus the reception in our building is everything but good. I had many times issues to load a website or to get emails in time. Lucky wise my office is just a few yards away from the wifi router that at least there my Internet worked.

I started this wonderful presentation with keynote, which is not really easy to use on the iPad but results are looking much better than on the notebook with PowerPoint. Almost done, i did send the deck to a co-worker to look on it. He has only PowerPoint and he told me that half of my pages do look totally off and he
could not read some parts. I must have used a font type which he doesn't have. Therefore i did export the deck as PDF. This worked but he could not make changes. I asked one of our desktop publisher to take my deck (which I exported as PowerPoint) to give it a professional look. A few hours later I got it back but when I opened it in keynote I got an error message. I had to ask the designer to export it in an older version. Finally I had it in keynote, only 20 minutes before my presentation. It took the full 20 minutes to resize the font because it was somehow off on my iPad after importing.
Meeting went well and using the iPad to connect to projector is great. Lucky that this was one of the few meetings without the need of webEx for call ins. I would not have known how it would work with the iPad. Pretty sure there is an app for this.

Reading and writing emails just went well, i believe the emails are better organized on the iPad than in outlook. I got a word document I had to open and to modify. First i could not open it because it was done in latest office 2011 version. I had to open the document on my notebook and then save it as an older version. After I was done i had to email it to myself because my iPad is not synced to the work computer.
Writing in the document using pages was horrible, I mean really horrible. I am decent in speed on the iPad. But the freaking pages program had issues with me. I might have written 5 words and then needed to wait up to 30 seconds till I could see what I wrote. I think in total it took me 1 an hour for something which should only take 15 minutes. Pages lacks of tracking changes therefore I had to change my color to red that the author could see what I changed. Tracking changes is imperative in offices, iPad is not good in handling this, maybe there is an app for this.
The next thing I needed to do, was to look at a complex Excel document with multiple sheets, pivots and graphs. Again the same problem i had to export it as an older version that the iPad could open it. Making changes in there is close to impossible. Try to change a complex formula using the touchscreen. I used my keyboard but it was not better.
I almost gave up.

Our company has a few enterprise applications, i can't use any of them on the iPad. They are all from Microsoft and only support IE 6 or higher. Of course for some of them are iPads apps available, But either they are expensive or do not work well because we did customize the enterprise applications to our company needs. These 3rd party apps do not support custom forms or fields. I tried to use for Dynamics 4.0 one of these app, which costs $30 a month, but our custom entities and field are not showing up. I wasted $30.

One of our publisher has a very heavy flash page and i was asked to look at it. No luck with the iPad, because flash is a no no.

After all i gave up after a few days instead of using it 2 weeks.

The iPad has great applications like keynote but in the business world everything, but the iPad, is windows based. There is no chance for the iPad to replace the notebook as long there is not at least a 90% compatibility to the windows world.

But it was fun to try and i still love my iPad.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.
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  1. If you would like to enter a lot of data or create extraordinary presentations, Apple's iPad currently is not the optimal device. It's hardware is less powerful compared to notebooks, but this restriction will fade away within very few years. Nevertheless, iPad is a great device for all kinds of business meetings. You can store, use and present thousands of documents, books, videos and images with your single iPad in every meeting. The benefit: iPad is easy to use, it looks like an electronic writing pad and not like a computer and you can hand it over to your conference partners, because it is handy and easy to use.

    By the way, in my humble opinion it would be Microsoft's job to make Microsoft Office available for iPad... Nobody forces them to only support Microsoft Windows.

    As we all know, Microsoft Office is much more expensive than Apple iWork, thus Microsoft Office for Mac is cheaper than Microsoft Office for Windows. That's why Microsoft (Windows) users are the actual big spenders... ;-)

  2. I dont say that the iPad is not a great device. And yes it has its reason to be there, but it is not yet a replacment for notebooks, even not for people like me, who don't need powerful devices. Maybe it is MS problem that they don't support 100% apple systems, but at the end it does not matter. As long the business world lifes in Microsoft the iPad will not be an alternative as a business only device. You still will need a second device, so why bother to use it then other than taking notes, reading news or reading emails.