The iPad in the Enterprise: Not Just a Pretty Face

 Hi, and welcome. This will be the first of a series of articles that explores the use of the iPad in Enterprises.


So let’s talk about the iPad. By now you’ve seen iPads everywhere – at Starbucks, meeting rooms, presentations, seminars, in planes, trains, MRTs, cabs, waiting rooms, perhaps even the smallest room. (I hope you washed your hands after that.)

Not just an Object of Desire

But why use it in the first place? Which one should be purchased? Who uses it? What can it be used for? When do people use it? Where is it used? And most importantly, how much discount can I get when I buy lots of them?

Yes. That last question is probably beyond the scope of this series.

Anyway, let’s start with why companies are so interested in the iPad. I have some idea of what large companies need and value in large tech deployments. These are as follows:

1. Affordability
When you’re equipping a large workforce, and buying things in their hundreds, cents matter.

2. Reliability
There is no point in buying the latest whizzbang gadget if it needs maintenance every few seconds.

3. Simplicity
Training costs money and time, so it stands to reason that equipment that is simple to use, reduces this cost.

The iPad is the epitome of the above. It’s relatively cheap for what it does, it has bulletproof reliability and as legions of parents can attest, it’s so simple that it’s the only product other than diapers that can be used by equal facility by 17-month olds and 70 year olds.

In addition to that, let’s see what humans – not businesses – appreciate about the iPad.

1. It’s cheap
The cheapest iPad mini is RM999. That’s a price point that many users can afford. If individuals can afford it, all the more that businesses would as well. It’s also interesting to note that the cheapest iPod touch is slightly more expensive.

1. It’s handy
The first portable computer I used was the Macintosh Portable. It weighed 7.2 kilograms. Carrying it, my arm and shoulder hurt after a while. As a result, it doesn’t get around much.

In contrast, my iPad mini is 308 grams and it goes everywhere with me. Everywhere. (Yes, I would wash my hands.) In fact sometimes I have to check to see that I actually have it in my bag.

2. It’s always connected
You really want to get one with a cellular connection, but there’s enough places with WiFi around that the WiFi iPad still gets connected most of the time. There are also some smartphones *cough iPhone *cough that can share their cellular wireless connections over WiFi.

So for instance, if I get lost in KL, it’s a cinch to open the Maps app and determine where I am. I could also email anyone, wherever I am.

3. It’s got a really, really long battery life
Used to be every time I got to Starbucks, the first thing I would do is search for a seat next to a power point. Not anymore. Energizer iPad keeps going and going and going, and I usually get a couple-three days out of my iPad. There are also a lot of USB car chargers available, so running out of power rarely, if ever, happens.

4. It has an incredible library of apps
Now this isn’t true for everyone, but as far as I can see, all that I do at work can be done with an iPad and a few basic apps, which are Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Mail and Safari. But just looking at App store is enough to boggle the mind.

700,000 thousand apps! and counting! Not only that, if there isn’t an app for you, you could probably find someone to write it.

So the above four points – portability, connectivity, ‘batterilivity’ and ‘apptivity’ mean that I can get a lot of stuff done, no matter where I am. (Yes, I washed my hands! I told you that!)

So next article, we’ll talk more about which iPad is right for you, depending on what you do.

See you soon, and take care.

Ahmad Sahar aka Shah was a former system engineer at Apple Malaysia, and has been in tech since 1993. He is an Apple Certified Trainer, and have taught Mac OS X Support Essentials and Server Essentials courses in the Asia Pacific region. 

He also teaches  iOS Development and over the course of his career, has worked with a lot of companies, such as Maybank, CIMB, F&N and Telekom Malaysia.

This series is a distillation of 19 years of conducting training, tech support, presentations and consultation. Everything here is something that he personally has had experience with, or done himself, or used. He pays for his own gear and opinions expressed here, are all his own.

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