While the competition have come (Motorola & RIM) or promised to come (HP (Palm) & Samsumg), the Apple iPad still maintains the edge for causal users to business users.Carl Brooks
Takeaway: While lots of companies want a piece of the multitouch tablet market, iPad competitors have been unable to match Apple. Even business users prefer the iPad 2. Learn why.
It’s been over a month since the arrival of the iPad 2 and Apple still can’t build them fast enough for all of the people who are ready to buy one — let alone keep the retail shelves stocked. Meanwhile, the iPad’s two most widely-hyped rivals so far in 2011 — the Motorola Xoom and the BlackBerry PlayBook — have been greeted by mediocre reviews and tepid sales.
Even more surprising is the fact that most business users are choosing the Apple tablet over the ones built by enterprise stalwarts Motorola and RIM. After evaluating the iPad 2 for a month, this review explores the reasons why most business users still prefer the Apple tablet and looks at where the iPad 2 still has work to do from an enterprise perspective.
Who is it for?
As I’ve said before, I think business users are the unseen force driving a large proportion of the iPad’s bullish sales numbers. Nearly everyone I know that has an iPad is a business user who bought the tablet for business meetings, answering emails from the couch or the bedroom, watching movies during business travel, reading news and books, and occasionally handing it to a kid to keep him busy using Angry Birds or Stack the States. While Apple’s marketing and promotional videos predominantly show kids and college students and average consumers using the iPad, in the real world, I’d suggest that at least 50% of iPad users are professionals. Of course, the interesting thing with the iPad is that it’s a combo work/personal device, and that may be one of the things that’s driving its success since many professionals having increasingly blurry boundaries between work time and personal time.
What problems does it solve?
There weren’t many desperately-needed fixes after the success of the first generation iPad. The biggest complaints were that it was a little heavy to hold for a long period of time, that it didn’t have cameras for video calls, that its screen wasn’t nearly as impressive as the iPhone 4, and that it wasn’t very powerful as a content creation device. Apple made the second generation iPad 33% thinner and 15% lighter than the original iPad, added front-facing and back-facing cameras (albeit low-quality ones) and FaceTime software for video calls, slightly upgraded the LCD to a brighter, more colorful screen, and added a dual core CPU and a few new apps (GarageBand and iMovie) to help increase some of the iPad’s content creation mojo — though it’s still not great for complicated emails (w/ attachments) or document creation.
Email app needs major improvement - My biggest complaint about the iPad is the email application. It’s very bare bones, and even a little awkward in terms of the way that it always leaves a message open in the preview pane as you scan through your mailbox. It also doesn’t integrate any of the features of popular email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook and Gmail, and it does not handle attachments very well.
Bottom line for business
The iPad 2 is a minimal refinement of the original iPad that adds a better screen, a slimmer form factor, and a dual core processor (the new cameras are barely worth mentioning). However, by retaining its great battery life, simple user experience, huge catalog of apps, and low price, the iPad 2 has enough to maintain a stronghold over the nascent multitouch tablet market. Even among business professionals — many of whom use the iPad for both work and personal use — the iPad 2 remains the tablet of choice. And, judging by the early competitors so far this year, it’s not in danger of being dethroned in 2011.
Source: TechRepublic (Jason Hiner)