Apple iPad: Will business apps drive its success in the enterprise?

iPad reality vs. the hype is just around the corner. The wealth of available apps will appeal to many consumers, but will business apps for the iPad push it into the enterprise?

With the iPad release just around the corner, there is still a lot of speculation about how significant the device will actually be, not just to consumers but also to the business world. Undoubtedly Apple's bread and butter has always been the entertainment aspects of its devices and their appeal to consumers. But increasingly people want their go-to devices to do double-duty for work and pleasure, whether they are watching a movie during their commute, accessing a spreadsheet, responding to business emails, or calling their Mom.

Apple seems increasingly well-positioned to meet the needs of consumers who are also business users, and one big way it is succeeding is with the number of apps available for the iPhone platform and, soon, the iPad. PCWorld's Tony Bradley wrote an interesting piece about a recent developer survey by Appcelerator, a platform and services company for Web developers, that shows just how much Apple dominates the developer base. Of the developers surveyed, 80% were interested in developing apps for the iPad. You can get the full Appcelerator March 2010 survey here.

Bradley's focus in the post is in explaining how decision makers can use surveys like this to help them decide which platforms to invest in. For example:

Organizations may want to think twice about investing in Palm WebOS smartphones since so many analysts have already written Palm's obituary and developers are shying away from creating apps for the platform. However, businesses can invest in platforms like iPhone, Android, and iPad with confidence that the devices will be supported with a robust marketplace of apps to extend the functionality and provide value.

In general, things are looking pretty good for the iPad, simply because of the great popularity of the apps explosion that happened on the iPhone platform and which will now extend to the new device. In a veritable sea of apps for the iPad that includes everything from strumming an Air Harp to reading a comic book, there will also be business apps, like those announced by IBM back in February. IBM appears to be betting on the iPad trend, as quoted from

"Peoples' lives don't segment neatly between work and home. The iPad gives people what will probably be a home device, but they're still going to want to access a full suite of business software on it," he says. "It'll be a device our customers will own, and they'll expect us to support it."

Whether you were an iPad skeptic or zealot at the time of its announcement in January, do you find that you've changed your mind about the viability of the device? Do you think it will have much more of a business impact now than you did then? How likely is it that your IT organization will be supporting the iPad in the coming months?


Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

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