Will the iPad be used by Corporations?

For a few weeks now, people have been using Apple's latest product, the iPad, a tablet device or appliance about twice the size of the iPhone. There is speculation that it'll sell 6M units in 2010 which is a pretty huge number for what essentially is a locked down appliance.

So where will all those devices go? Most, if not all, will go to the same people that (religiously) buy Mac books and Mac book Air's. I guess that most people will buy them to consume media whilst traveling or just sitting on the couch, for instance watching episodes of Lost bought from iTunes, but who else would buy them?

We've seen the iPhone creep into the Enterprise at the expense of Blackberry (which ironically is creeping into youth culture with its built-in IM app). How many emails do you now seen in your outlook inbox with the words 'sent from an iphone' at the bottom? I see a growing number, even from my boss. There is a view that the iPhone is a consumer device moreso than a business supplied corporate handset, but due to its ease of use and the size and scope of the "there's an app for that" store, we're seeing it creep in as the power user's phone of choice.

The ability of the iPhone to encroach into the enterprise shows that the iPad may well enter markets that it's not initially aimed at, too -- potentially, even the text book market. Text books are expensive (or they were when I last bought one!), and they are heavy to carry around. We're already seeing text book publishers work with software companies to bring their content to the iPad. So could we see school, universities, and educational establishments in general take up the iPad as the device of choice to provide educational content?

I'm not sure if the iPad will creep into the corporate environment as a lot of content creation is going on, and at the moment the keyboard is king. However, I can see Apple selling a lot more than 6m iPads over the next few years into a whole host of new markets as it's an easy to use/manage/upgrade wireless appliance with what looks like a great screen. What does this mean for the telcos? It means yet more networked devices requiring a pervasive network and ubiquitous computing creeps ever nearer, and the iPad will be available on Orange.

Nicolas Jacquey
Rob Evans

Rob is the Group Head for Telecoms Sourcing for Western Europe and the Nordics and manages a team providing all aspects of Telecoms sourcing to Orange Business.  Rob owns the Commercial relationship with major carriers across Europe on behalf of Orange Business.  Cost reduction, re-negotiation, competitiveness and subsequent impact on country P&L are key activities that Rob drives across Western Europe.