Apple iPad replacing PCs as well as paper?

Now here’s an article to strike fear into Microsoft. Stuart Sumner reports on iPad trials at the BBC and in the Army. The BBC’s CIO John Linwood says:

We’re seeding the organisation [with the devices]. We put some iPads into production and some into management and other roles to see if people would be able to give up their desktops.

He goes on to say that the iPad may enable paperless meetings.

What makes an iPad better than a laptop or netbook for a meeting? I find it curious, incidentally, that the report refers to replacing desktops rather than laptops.

Well, one reason I have always liked tablets is that they are more interactive and don’t put a barrier (the screen) between you and others. A stylus is actually nice for meetings – good for quick diagrams as well as handwriting. Apple’s iPad lacks the stylus, but has other advantages over Windows tablets – smaller, lighter, instant-on, long battery life, and so on.

Still, the humble netbook at one third of the price will do the job too, better in some ways. You have Excel, for example. Unfortunately it lacks the elegance, usability and desirability of Apple’s device.

Any excuse to justify handing out cool devices, then? Maybe; but there’s no law that says business equipment has to be dull and unpleasant to use.

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7 comments to Apple iPad replacing PCs as well as paper?

  • An excuse maybe?

    But perhaps for the corporates they are looking at the TCO for devices across the enterprise. Thats countless people sitting in meetings without a laptop so no need for an Xp/Vista licence, no need for an MS office licence and it’s an appliance not a PC, if it fails just plug another one into itunes and bingo off you go which is probably where the military application comes in.

  • Clyde Davies

    If this survey is anything to go by, what does this say about the people who work for the Army and the BBC?

    http://newslite.tv/2010/07/30/survey-ipad-users-are-mostly-s.html

  • Gary

    It only says that article was written by someone who has a major issue with Apple.

    P.S. I dont own an ipad!

  • PB

    Hi Tim,

    I’ve been looking for a stylus for the iPad and was wondering if you knew of any solution which would allow me to replace paper and pen? I’m looking to be able to take quick notes and drawings like one would on paper.

    Do the stylus’s allow one to rest their hands on the screen and write finely i.e. I don’t want the page filling up fast because the tip/text is very thick.

    I’d love to hear your feedback.

    Thanks.
    PB

  • tim

    Do the stylus’s allow one to rest their hands on the screen and write finely i.e. I don’t want the page filling up fast because the tip/text is very thick.

    This is one thing that the Windows tablets (most of them) solve nicely – they are not not touch sensitive, but only react to the stylus, so you can rest your hand on them. Of course this advantage becomes a disadvantage if you lose the stylus.

    Tim

  • Clyde Davies

    Been thinking about this some more. I don’t have a problem with Apple and I’d like to have an iPad if only to explore its potential, but to be honest I haven’t really explored the potential of the humble Windows Tablet, and neither have many businesses I expect.
    One example where such exploration has gone on is the OnePoint solution devised at Pfizer, where the tablet/notebook is integrated with SharePoint to provide a fully collaborative environment.

    Now, iPads may well be slicker and sexier, but where is the back-end infrastructure to support this kind of working? Am I just ignorant of what already exists for the iPad? Are other businesses equally ignorant of what can be done with a Windows tablet?

  • They really need to get the cost of e-readers down. A high contract A4 e-reader with stylus support would make a far better replacement for paper than the iPad. For starters, I had a play with the iPad yesterday and it still feels too heavy even holding it in two hands. I was expecting it to feel a LOT lighter than my 11.6″ convertible tablet/laptop (as its actually about 1kg lighter) but was surprised how it still felt awkwardly heavy, though granted probably wouldn’t cramp your arm as quickly.

    Mind you, people are Apple brainwashed. While I was in the store a group of teenage girls walked up and said “its not even expensive really, I mean the Macbook is only a couple of hundred more” to which I desperately wanting to exclaim “WHAT ARE YOU NUTS? ITS A BILLIONTH OF THE POWER OR FLEXIBILITY OF A MACBOOK WHICH ARE ALSO OVERPRICED COMPARED TO A PC” but just sniggered to myself instead.

    Don’t get me wrong, I own an iPod Touch (8GB only, I’m not a complete masochist), but it annoys me how much Apple get away with charging for technology that should be half the price. I mean we have the Kindle 3 for £109 and people an iPad for four times that price is good value?