Where the Apple iPad Fits into the Business World

It’s here! After eons of speculation, Apple’s Steve Jobs finally unveiled the iPad. Apple’s new touchscreen smartphone/laptop hybrid has a 9.7-inch screen, is half an inch thick, and weighs 1.5 lbs. It comes with WiFi, Bluetooth, and Apple’s own A4 chip.

Jobs demonstrated today that his new multi-touch toy is an appealing hybrid of functionality, convenience, and fun. But what does the iPad mean for businesspeople? What are its most convenient uses for folks in the working world? Most importantly, is it a game-changer?

We included some key details on the iPad below, including software and hardware features most useful for businesspeople. First, the nitty gritty:

Prices
16GB: $499
32GB: $599
64GB: $699
3G model: $829

All models except for the 3G ship in 2 months. The 3G ships in 3 months.

Data plans
250MB/month: $14.99/month
Unlimited: $29.99/month
(Through AT&T only.)

Software

For $9.99 a piece, you can load up your iPad with useful and fun apps. Watch the iPad video here. Highlights:

The iPad runs almost all existing iPhone apps, as well as apps customized only for the iPad. Developers, get ready for another gold rush.

iWork: The new iWork app has slides that help you move between screens and applications. This makes working more fluid and integrated–faster, potentially.

Numbers: A soft numeric keypad makes it easy to work on a spreadsheet remotely.

Email: A soft keyboard in the lower half of your screen makes it easy and fast to type an email.

Newspapers: Several major newspapers, including the New York Times, have apps for the iPad. These layouts mimic print newspapers, and look beautiful.

iBooks: The iPad shows its potential as a Kindle-killer through iBooks. Pull a book off a digital bookshelf in the iBookstore. Examine it with your fingers. Buy for $14.99. Then, read pages that look like real paper pages. Aesthetic and slick.

Games: These don’t have much to do with business, except as a stellar way to pass time during boring meetings. iPad games have overlays that let you control by touch. The iPad boasts superior graphics on a mobile platform that’s just the right size.

SEE ALSO:
How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan for a Small Business

Brushes: If your job involves design or sketching, Brushes is a fun app. You can sketch and paint directly onto your touchscreen.

Hardware

Keyboard dock: You can plug a keyboard into the iPad’s keyboard dock. Then, you place the iPad in front of the keyboard, so it acts like a monitor. This makes the iPad as convenient and comfortable as a laptop.

Syncing: The iPad syncs with all your other devices via USB. Everything can sync at the same time (not just by application). This is good if you do a lot of work on the road.

Projector: You can connect the iPad to a projector using a cable. Again, handy if you travel a lot on the job, eg. for presentations.

Battery: 10 hours of battery life. Nice.

Chip: Designed in-house by Apple.

Service

Service, as with the iPhone, is through AT&T. You don’t need a contract. As with the iPhone, you get free use of AT&T WiFi hotspots.

All models are unlocked and use new GSM Micro SIMs.

Overall Rating for Business

The iPad isn’t designed exclusively for business. At best, I can see it fitting people in certain niches, like designers, anyone who works on the road, and anyone who likes working and reading on their commute. It’s not an iPhone, Blackberry, or laptop killer. Instead, it’s useful if you happen to be the kind of person who could use one.

A Game-Changer?

Could the iPad revolutionize the way we use computers? Yes, if everyone ends up adopting the multi-touch model. If multi-touch tablets become a form of ubiquitous computing. If schoolkids start taking tablets to class instead of books, and tablets with keyboard docks become the laptops of the future. Apple might be onto something here, a new standard that the public hasn’t yet adopted. That might be one reason for its aggressive pricing: Apple wants everyone to have an iPad.

I’ma wait this one out. I don’t see any reason to buy a Tablet right away. But I–and you–might feel differently in 6 months, if the model takes off.

Time will tell.

  • I can’t see it used in schools, no physical keyboard, no pen or stylus to take notes… I bet typing on the on screen keyboard it’s not so comfortable after a while. Unless every classroom is equipped with keyboard docks…

    The price is sexy though. And it will get lower by Christmas.

  • Travis

    Wtf, Apple is the Obama of computers. Tablets have been out for years. When MS was building steam on them, Apple mocked them. Apple was releasing statements about how useless tablets are. When MS started touting a cheaper price for a less computer-like tablet (a la iPad), Apple made fun of them for trying to polish a turd.

    Now, Apple comes out with the same exact thing. All Apple ever does is take technology that’s already available and puts their name on it and says it’s for cool people…and then the cool sheep follow along. I don’t have any preference over Apple or MS, but I can’t stand Apple when they pull this crap. MS has their bad habits, but Apple’s are just annoying more than anything.

  • The Ipad looks like fun to play with, but I doubt if you can really work with it? But many people will buy it because of it look.

  • Sean

    Travis, thought I can understand your comments, they are far from valid. Yes, Apple takes “technology” that is already there. There are lots of multi-touch tablets out there. Oh wait, their isn’t. MS came out with “tablets”, this was a very lose term. All they did was allow you take a laptop screen and turn it flat. Then write on it. Concept, if you can touch a screen with your finger, why not a pen. I can guarantee that there will be an app designed for free writing and note taking. Apple does not claim they invented the wheel. Instead they were smart. They let MS create the wheel (Insert Windows Vista), what they did was perfect the wheel (Inset any Mac OS). Apple is known for going to the next level. The fact is there, THERE IS NO TABLET THAT MATCHES ALL THE SPECS OF THE IPAD. There is nothing that is as small, fast, or versatile. It was funny watching Lenovo’s version, and as the presenter was trying to “show it off” is continued to rotate the computer…. and the best part was, the screen never changed! No one is claiming that the Ipad will replace computers or laptops as we know them. That’s not the point. The point is that is changing the way you think and view the world. Yes, it is just a big ass iphone, What’s wrong with that?? Have you ever used an iPhone and thought, damn I wish this was bigger so I could do more with it? Well, now it is. The iPhone was a revolution to the cell phone world. It took things that Palm and Blackberry had been trying to do for years, and made it work! That’s called a successful plan. I would take my iPhone and put it up against any other “smart” phone and I will tell you right now who will win. Besides, Apple only makes fun of MS because it’s just so damn easy. I mean, how do you not laugh when your competitor and the “leader” in the industry puts out so many flawed products!! And then to top it off they hire Jerry Seinfield (One hit wonder) to help cover it up….. MS spent more money creating advertising to combat the failure of Vista, than they did actually fixing all their issues with it. Hence the reason Windows7 was created. This is what a tablet should be. MS does not have anything like this out. It’s not make to be a laptop or a desktop, it is a tablet. It allows you to work on documents on the go with easy and access, not play WoW while your on the DC Metro or writing up your 1000 page thesis. Stop asking a product to do something its not designed to do. Instead learn what it was actually created for.