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3/29/2012
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The New iPad: 7 Updates That Mean Business

Now that the latest Apple buzz-a-thon has died down, it's time to see what the newest iPad offers enterprise users. Here are the features we find most compelling.

The new iPad, while clearly more evolutionary than revolutionary, sports a few headline features, including the best display yet on any mobile device. We decided to explore whether there's an iPad "halo effect" that will extend to Apple products in general and, if so, whether the aura will extend into the enterprise to challenge IT's Wintel preference. To find out, we polled 402 business technology professionals and found that the iPad and iPhone have indeed bought Apple some enterprise cred. About half of respondents to our March 2012 iPad Survey say their policy is to officially support the iPad; 39% are satisfied (30%) or very satisfied (9%) with Apple devices overall from a business IT perspective. Just 9% say Apple products aren't in use at their companies.

"Tablets will replace some laptops and desktops," says one CTO. "Consumer tech is way ahead of corporate IT. In fact, the iPad will be another nail in the coffin of old policy-driven, staid corporate IT control freaks. Business is demanding speed, simplicity, and ease of use. And the companies that get ahead of that curve will have a huge competitive advantage."

Control freaks? If that stings, it's because there's truth in it. Among the top reasons cited for not supporting iThings is an unwillingness to develop expertise and do the work needed to bring these devices into the management fold. Still, more IT pros are realizing they'd better get on the consumerization bandwagon before they get flattened by it.

We did see an interesting dynamic around adoption by executives vs. the rank and file. "Our chairman bought an iPad but refuses to allow IT or anyone else to purchase one," says a respondent. "However, he expects IT to have been born with the iPad gene and know how to support it."

Only 7% of respondents to our InformationWeek Consumerization Survey supply iPads to more than 25% of their employees. But the market winds are at Apple's back: Fully 42% of respondents will increase use of Apple products in the future, and an additional 15% are considering adding them to the supported mix. A mere 11% plan to become or remain Apple free.

Now that we've had time to use the new iPad and compare it with its year-old predecessor, the iPad 2, let's run down the top seven changes and assess their significance for enterprise buyers who may be mulling whether to initiate a tablet pilot, upgrade employees on first- or second-generation iPads, or switch from Android tablets.

chart: What's your company's policy on Apple products?

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