Okay, we can essentially identify any tablet here, not just the iPad, but we are focusing on the Apple product because it is the most ubiquitous and also one of the most accessible. We thought we would look today at the growth of the iPad as regards mobile working, and essentially judge it against the idea that the iPad has become something that you can use exclusively, without the need for a laptop. In other words, is the iPad the tool that we need to use when pursuing mobile working, or do we need something else to back it up?


This is perhaps the perennial question for IT procurement professionals, but a couple of years ago people were still seeing the iPad as a content consumption tool. It was sold by Apple as something that would be great for browsing the Internet on and sending e-mails and so on.


The video playback potential, as well as the music playback, made it seem at the start like more of an entertainment tool rather than something that people could use for mobile working. However, people are using it for mobile working, and this is mostly because developers have created software platforms that not only utilise the interface effectively, but also provide powerful solutions for mobile working problems


Let’s take document management and creation. People were initially dismayed due to the fact that this was not a Microsoft product and that Word was not something that was being packaged along with it. Then other developers brought out suites such as Quick Office and Apple’s own Pages, which made content creation and management easy and simple. This means that document creation on your iPad is no longer a problem. You can even buy conventional keyboards that you can plug into the iPad or have wireless connections that can perfectly mimic your desktop PC. Who needs a keyboard?


Mobile working professionals also don’t seem to care about the fact that they don’t have an on-screen keyboard any more. By turning the iPad into landscape mode you get a decent keyboard, and once you have got used to the idea that you’re tapping on the screen, you should be okay.


In fact, it is not unusual now to see people tapping away furiously on their screens, completely used to the fact that they are not using the conventional keyboard. So this means that the bugbear of the naysayers a few years ago, that document creation management will be difficult with a tablet, has been banished. Apple have jumped ahead of everyone else with their other products, such as Keynote. Keynote presentations are attractive and are becoming the norm at sales conferences and other business meetings. So if you have an iPad and you are a mobile worker, you can have everything you need in one place and highly accessible. Like we said, there are plenty of tablets out there and plenty of other platforms, but Apple seem to have quickly created a space for themselves where people can effectively have an office on the move.