We are on the eve of the yet another launch event from Apple and it feels just like the run up to Christmas with the final few days before the big day taking forever.
This is of course because of the speculation that Apple will unveil the iPad 3 (or iPad HD). While it took smart phones seven years to sell 50 million units, it has only taken two years to sell 50 million tablets, the vast majority of them from Apple with iPad and iPad 2.
And while we have come to expect Apple will release something great, I can’t help but think that those of us running teams and managing businesses will want to see new features that will move the iPad further as an enterprise-class device. Apple is best positioned to move the tablet to enterprise standard, but the real battle will be in the enterprise apps it can support, and this battle is bound to be fought in the cloud. There are five capabilities I, as an enterprise user want to see:
Give me video or give me my laptop back – Video collaboration is great, from Facetime to Skype to Google Hangout. So why can’t I initiate and drive a WebEx or Go to Meeting from a tablet? With the launch of iCloud, it is entirely possible that Apple will introduce Facetime video cloud functionality. This would be a built in big win for enterprise business and technical users.
Siri + Evernote – I want Siri to have Evernote-style capability to help me capture everything and turn it into action, record the meeting, update Salesforce with tasks and new opportunities, circulate meeting notes to all attendees, and remind me to go to the gym…and I don’t want to have to type a thing.
Not another app for that – There are apps available for just about anything but the reality is that most enterprise software iPad applications are just lightweight versions of the desktop or cloud apps we have today. We need a new class of enterprise business applications built to be mobile first with HTML5 to render seamlessly on my iPad, with all the same functionality as my laptop experience.
Enterprise security & identity management – Tablets are now must have for the business, but they give IT pros pause because they require a thoughtful approach to security. User management needs to be centralized, devices and data need to be secured and controlled. And while we are at it, why can’t my IT team manage our entire network security from their iPads? Personal security needs to be “enterprise” security in my system preferences.
A smarter, or at least more rugged smart cover – iPad 2 brought us the smart cover, to great fanfare, but most business pros long ago upgraded to other covers that offer a more protection, can be company branded, and don’t unclip every time you pull them in and out of your briefcase. It would be great to have Apple push the smart cover innovation a step further.
I am excited for yet another Apple launch event tomorrow. They are always a terrific production and give those of us not at Apple inspiration on how to build and launch something and make it memorable. I hope that the launch of the next iPad brings some extra gifts for us running enterprise businesses. If not, there is always next year.
Christian Gheorghe is a founder and CEO of Tidemark, and an avid user of his iPad 2.