With the launch of the latest round of iPad Generations including the iPad Air (aka iPad5) and iPad mini (with Retina display), Apple are once again showing their ability to dominate the market and convince their avid fan base to part with their hard earned cash. (My iPad air arrived this morning!!).
Every time a new portable device arrives on my desk, fresh from the delivery man, I say to myself how can I be more productive with this. How can I get more value to for money from this device? I then find myself spending the next 20 minutes searching the app store to see if any new ‘wonder apps’ have been released that are going me to allow to discard my laptop and spend the rest of my working days tapping away on the new shiny screen.
In reality what happens is you see the same apps, all of which specialise in one particular aspect of what you want, be it document editing or spreadsheet work. Essentially the lack of the office suite is a massive disadvantage to the business iPad user.
Sure Apple have released their Notes, Numbers and Keynote software on the device, which are fantastic products, however, with no way to access folders directly on the company network, the whole process can become tiresome and convoluted. There is certainly not a solution that you could document and expect the CEO to understand and follow every time he needed to make last minute adjustments to the presentation he’s giving when he gets off the train!
I understand that you can have everything sync’d between devices, using solutions like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive etc. However, enterprises invest huge sums of money in storage for their users, much to the finance departments resentment. For an IT manager to then have to go cap in hand and ask for more money, so the sales boys can access their documents on the an iPad is quite simply asking for trouble.
Mail, Apple have pretty much nailed in my opinion, their integration with exchange is seamless, and easy to setup. Providing your inbox management is good, I’ve seen no issues in sending and receiving mail on the road.
If Apple could get their suite to integrate with Windows file servers, or Microsoft could get an Office suite onto the app store, then I feel that the iPad could start to make the switch from being a consumer, or on the go device to a laptop replacement / fully operational working device.