• A Response To Gene Marks

    Gene Marks recently wrote a column for BusinessWeek about the inapplicability of the iPad as a device for business users.

    There’s so much wrong with this column that I’m not sure where to start, and I couldn’t fit my response in the comment limit. I’ve posted my response here.


    I work in a business that makes heavy use of both Macs and PCs, so I have some perspective on using both in the workplace. It’s seriously hard to believe that somebody who runs an IT consulting firm could come to such conclusions, nor be so resistant to change in an industry composed of nothing else.

    Printing issues? Clearly you’ve never set up a printer with OS X. When we hire new employees, they enter the printer’s IP and OS X figures out everything else.

    Connection problems? The only time people who visit our office have problems connecting to the wireless is when they are on a Windows laptop. That’s not a slam on Windows, it just faces an impossible challenge as an OS: there’s so many drivers and different types of wireless cards that not all of them work properly with every wireless security protocol. Apple’s hardware and software are built to match and every wireless protocol I’ve ever been challenged with is supported.

    Software installation issues? Everything they will ever install on the iPad will come from the App Store… which means software installation is automatic. Worst case, they will have a custom proprietary app they will want to install, and there’s a foolproof method for that, too (using Xcode). Have you ever even used an iPhone? Comparing the software installation process of an iPad with Windows PCs makes no sense at all.

    Security problems? I’m not sure how you think the iPad is going to open security holes any worse than any other device that connects corporate devices to the Internet. The iPad will still run a UNIX core which is arguably one of the most secure OS platforms on the planet.

    You’re misinformed and clearly missing the point. I can see the iPad being an excellent device for admin assistants to take notes/manage email/schedules while running around the office. It will work great for anybody who shares and annotates documents collaboratively (such as software wireframes, blueprints, contracts, etc.). Remote versions of proprietary apps written specifically for the iPad that can be used by travelling business people are an obvious third use case. And like the iPhone, totally new accessories like credit card readers, point of sale scanners, and all manner of other things are destined to surround it and support new ways of doing business.

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