iPad revamp doesn't change our tablet rollout plans, say CIOs

The new iPad's retina display hasn't charmed CIOs: but tablets will be flooding into the enterprise anyway

Earlier this month Apple unveiled the latest model of its iPad tablet device, featuring a better display, faster chip, and 4G LTE.

And as only about 10 per cent of tablets are bought by enterprise right now, are the new features of this, the third generation iPad, enough to convince CIOs to start rolling them out?

Not quite, according to TechRepublic's CIO Jury: when asked "Are the new features of the iPad enough to persuade you to roll out Apple's tablet in your organisation?" tech executives on the jury voted 'no' by a margin of nine to three.

For some tech chiefs, the iPad is already an essential: Graham Yellowley, CTO of equities, risk and client service at LCH Clearnet said: "The iPad 2 was already fast becoming the corporate tool of choice in the organisation and the new iPad will build on that. The entire user experience is one of ease of use and sophistication. Laptops and PCs are now officially dead."

Brian Wells, associate CIO at Penn Medicine, added: "From my perspective it is already a must have. This just makes it better."

Michael Spears, CIO at NCCI Holdings, said; "It's not really a matter of the new features. We have already bought into the ecosystem and have created the need to stay current for support."

He added that most iPads in use are employee's own devices, and it is currently the only tablet his organisation supports. "This fits nicely with our BYOD program for smartphones, although we support a broader base of devices there," he said.

As well as unveiling the new model, Apple has also decided to keep the iPad 2 in production at a lower cost and this is proving attractive to some CIOs. Matthew Metcalfe, director of Information Systems at Northwest Exterminating, explained: "We're using iPad 2's and will probably take advantage of the discounts on them now that the 3 is coming out."

Tom Galbraith, director of IT at the US District Court, Southern District of Illinois, said that the iPad was still not a corporate must-have. "This revision improves aesthetics for sure, but that criteria does not typically equate to business value," he said. But he added that he has already had inquiries from his executive team about the possibility of replacing their first-generation iPads, "driven by the fact that v1 users are now two generations behind, rather than being driven by any measurable limitation associated with that current device".

But Gavin Megnauth, director of operations at Morgan Hunt, was less convinced that the new iPad is a must-buy: "The new features in themselves are not compelling in themselves to roll out iPads to the organisation," he said.

Magnauth added that Apple's consumer marketing offensive meant that end-users were becoming "more geeky than hardened IT professionals" in terms of their addiction to these tablets, and that this "only serves to build great user pressure for bring-your-own devices to be connected to the corporate network."

David Van Geest, director of IT at The Orsini Group, said: "While 4G and a higher resolution screen are nice, for our business it really doesn't add enough new functionality to make the upgrade worthwhile."

But while only one in ten tablets is bought by business, somewhere around 35 per cent of tablets are sold to consumers to use in the workplace, which means that a new iPad is going to have an impact on the enterprise world even if CIOs aren't the ones buying them, as Kevin Leypoldt, IS director at Structural Integrity Associates, pointed out.

While the new features might lead to some additional corporate customers, they put many more iPads into the hands of consumers: "Therefore while the business may not be the direct customer, one thing that they 'must-have' is plan to tolerate, support and secure these devices into their infrastructure," Leypoldt said.

This week's CIO Jury is:

  • Jeff Cannon is the information technology director of Fire & Life Safety America
  • Tom Galbraith, director of IT at the US District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • Adam Gerrard CTO,  LateRooms.com
  • Neil Harvey, IT director at Sindlesham Court
  • Jerry Justice, IT director at SS&G Financial Services
  • Kevin Leypoldt, IS director at Structural Integrity Associates
  • Matthew Metcalfe, director of information systems at Northwest Exterminating
  • Michael Spears CI, NCCI Holdings
  • David Van Geest, director of IT for The Orsini Group
  • Brian Wells, associate CIO at Penn Medicine
  • David Wilson, director of IT services at Vector CSP
  • Graham Yellowley, CTO Equities, Risk and Client Service at LCH Clearnet

Want to be part of TechRepublic’s CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT decision-makers? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company, working in the private sector or in government, and you want to join TechRepublic’s CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should, then get in contact.

Either click the Contact link below or email me, steve dot ranger at techrepublic dot com, and send your name, title, company, location, and email address.

By Steve Ranger

Steve Ranger is the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic. An award-winning journalist, Steve writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing tech issues. Previously he was th...