FRAMINGHAM, 2 MARCH 2011 - Charles Edge, author of Enterprise iPhone and iPad Administrator's Guide and director of technology at IT consultancy 318, was talking to a CIO as Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 today.
While most Apple consumers cheered, the CIO let out a gasp. "Uh-oh, is this going to cost me a whole bunch of money?" he asked Edge. With millions of dollars worth of iOS apps in development, the CIO wondered how the new iOS and iPad 2 would affect those development cycles.
Edge assured him that Apple does a good job of keeping backwards compatibility with its APIs. Any of Apple's new features can be pushed into 1.x of the apps in development, he says. Nevertheless, Edge was struck by the sudden concern, which underscores the dramatic differences between consumers' and CIOs' reactions to Apple news.
That's not to say CIOs aren't happy with the new iPad 2.
For instance, CIOs have been waiting for a front-facing camera to make its way onto the iPad for some time, say IT consultants. "FaceTime will be appealing to a lot of enterprises that may look at it as easy, entry-level video teleconferencing," says Dan Hays, partner at management consulting firm PRTM, which focuses on operational strategy and execution for C-level executives within Fortune 2000 organizations.
"The camera makes the iPad a bit of a game changer in the enterprise," Edge says, whose firm specializes in integrating Apple products into the enterprise. "You take the device with you on the road, provide a presentation, videoconference back to the office to tell them how it went, and then use FaceTime to talk to your wife and kids back at home. It's a pretty compelling story for the road warriors out there."
Another cool enterprise feature of iPad 2: an Apple accessory HDMI video out cable ($39) that mirrors whatever is on the iPad to HDMI projectors at up to 1080p resolution. This is more geared toward the future, though, since HDMI projectors aren't all that common compared to VGA-based projectors. "Our customers see iPad as the presentation tool of the future," Edge says.
While everyone with an iPhone 4 can benefit from iOS 4.3's tethering capability, enterprise users who still carry around their laptops on business trips should be pleased, Hays says. "Embedding personal hotspots will be valuable for enterprises," he says, "and there's potential savings from not having multiple 3G connections."
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