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back to article Seize your moment, Microsoft: iPad is RUBBISH for enterprise

Apple has given us much with its pleasing-on-the-eye iPad. But what it hasn't given us is a serious replacement for the lowly laptop or desktop. As much as magazines like MacWorld may hype it as "The New Business Machine", the reality is that the iPad is only enterprise-ready in iFantasyLand. Across the board, Apple's iPad apps …

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It's the Surface isn't it, gives the best of both worlds without the worst of either, tablet form factor for when you want to play Angry Birds (or Diablo III, or Crysis....) and laptop form factor for when you want to get real work done. How many developers will be developing for Windows? That's how many will be developing for the Windows Surface full fat edition (it runs Windows).

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How many will be developing for Surface in tablet mode? I'd guess somewhere in the low single digits if any. Surface Pro is just a convertible ultrabook, resisting the urge to write laptop mode apps will be difficult. Really can't see many bothering to resist.

Surface RT is simply crippled, by lower performance, by Metro. Don't expect 'enterprise grade' apps for it any more than you see them on IOS or Android.

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WTF?

Huh?!?

How is Surface RT crippled? Possibly in the same way as iOS is when compared with OSX? Or in the way that Andoid compares with Chrome, or maybe with Linux?

That aside, assuming the developer has half a brain, development for W8 desktop and Win.x server apps is going to be defined by WinRT. This simply because the RT framework does less (in some areas) than the .NET Framework. For example you can do AES with a salt and an initialization vector in RT (as you can in .NET), but it won't encrypt or decrypt data from existing .NET apps because of API constructor restrictions*. The API differences are subtle, but the incompatibilities will that WT drives dev. Again, assuming the developers are worth what you pay them.

* Yes, it's stupid design from Microsoft, but it is what it is.

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Holmes

The Surface is still in fantasy land, maybe when it appears it will challenge the iPad......

Naaah won't ever happen because it is trying to be toooo many things at once.

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Windows

More pressing than the apps is the inherent lack of enterprise security eco-system - a gap companies like MobileIron are trying to fill, but it's a bit like fitting the square peg in the round hole.

Unrelated query: Why is the windows user icon a tramp?

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Coat

"but it's a bit like fitting the square peg in the round hole." -- try using a lump hammer, works every time.

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Re: Why is the windows user icon a tramp?

Because Windows drives people me to drink?

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Joke

"Why is the windows user icon a tramp?"

I always assumed it was because windows users are too cheap to buy a Mac...

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Windows

...

I hate people being correct when they say I am a cheap skate, but I am until you realise I paid for Windows 7 (Meh) and that itself isn't cheap so :P.

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Re: Why is the windows user icon a tramp?

Ahhh it's because Steve Ballmer is too ugly to be a prostitute, and so we have to give Windoze users a park bench alcoholic icon.

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Pint

Re: Why is the windows user icon a tramp?

<<<<< There you go as it's Friday :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Tramp......

Because Windows Users have a lot in common with an alcohol addled tramp in that they really can't do very much when when presented with anything greater than the most basic of point and click computer tasks.

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Re: Tramp......

Well at least they dont get RSI installing all those extra security patches that Linux and OS-X users need...

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Re: Tramp......

No, they get RSI working those CTRL, ALT and DELETE keys.

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Stop

Heavy lifting on an iPad?

If you're trying to do that your design architecture is wrong. It's more like a smart terminal than a PC, and as such you should be offloading heavy work to servers where it belongs. Windows RT is no better, and full fat Windows 8 has a much higher hardware cost combined with lower battery life.

There are many ways in which the iPad can work well in a corporate environment, Citrix for example gives you the ability to access both conventional an tailored Windows apps. Stop trying to think of it as a PC and you'll find it can solve a lot of business problems rather well.

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Linux

It's the form factor, not the CPU.

The problem is not the processor. It's the form factor. The "mouse-only" approach only gets you so far. So does the fact that this virtual mouse is also embedded into the display and the fact that the display itself is pretty small.

There are many things to criticize there. A different tablet might also be more useful just as all old school graphics terminals aren't all created equal. I would hiss at a '94 era PC setup just as loudly as I would an iPad.

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Re: Heavy lifting on an iPad?

lol

citrix!!

how many years since you were an end user?

ipad + citrix... i think i have an xt in the loft that could blow the doors off that

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Heavy lifting on an iPad?

ipad + VMWare View would be better for heavy lifting, no?

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Re: Heavy lifting on an iPad?

Steve, do you have links to information supporting this quote?

Windows RT is no better, and full fat Windows 8 has a much higher hardware cost combined with lower battery life

I watched the event live and listened to the pundits afterwards but there was nothing but speculation about these points. Have they been clarified by Microsoft in the meantime?

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Re: Heavy lifting on an iPad?

The standard Surface tablet has an ARM CPU (not something you can throw heavyweight apps at), allows code installs only via the Microsoft app store, will only run Metro apps (no Windows Desktop or legacy code) and can't take part in Active Directory. How does this make it in any way better than the iPad? The keyboard cover? I can't see this being great to type on, no key travel or feel, and you can already use Bluetooth keyboards with the iPad.

The Surface Pro is Intel Core i5 based, it is already known that it will cost more than the surface. It's also known that it's battery isn't hugely bigger than that of the Surface, but the TDP of the ULV Core i5 is 17 watts, roughly 8 times that of the ARM. Tell me how it is going to match the Surface for battery life?

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Re: Heavy lifting on an iPad?

Absolutely agree. I work from home and the other day my Windows laptop provided by my office died. I decided to try Citrix on my mac and then on my Ipad. Both worked great to the point I wondered why I even need an office laptop any more other than maybe some local saving on an official company computer. Even then I really should be saving any files to my company's network so they can be backed up, so really, I have no need to have a Window laptop anymore if I choose...

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Flame

More Gibbering

So Apple dont make good enterprise apps. Dont think we can argue with that.

Newsflash Matt this does not equal iPad is no good for enterprise. There are plenty good enterprise apps for the iPad from Third Parties that let the ipad do well in its niche which is BYOD, Note taking, and very basic office functionality.

iPad as a desktop/laptop replacement - errr Matt nobody sane said it was (not even Apple). Whether the surface is it will take 2-3 years to find out.

In short more inconsistent Matt Asay rambling.

Seriously do you even try to write a coherent article any more?

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Anonymous Coward

Subtle point:

They more or less gave rise to the BYOD hype. And they're still *not* focused on the enterprise.

As to quality of the enterprise apps they make, well, most tailor-made for-the-enterprise apps turn out to be utter crap, and lots more expensive (and a lot less shiny) than the shiny kit apple ships.

Oh, and Matt, heavy lifting? What was it again... around the time of wossname, internet exploder six I think it was. That other hype, where "everything" suddenly had to be a "web app". Designed to do single task. So if you had to do a hundred of them, you had to go through the motions a hundred times. How's that for heavy lifting?

In fact, we're still there, modulo a lot of cookie-cutters to speed up specific tasks, unless you're a smug unix bastard and can script everything then script running the script a hundred, a thousand, any number of times.

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This Is True Of All Tablets

They never were designed for Autocad, Photoshop, developer environment etc. They are a half way house between a smartphone and desktop. It all depends upon what your needs are for a purpose.

Hands up who want to lug around a 17inch diameter tablet (based on current technology) everywhere ?

While we are at it lets deal with some of the Surface hype/crap. It's a tablet with a separate keyboard which are already available for android and IOS. No journalist has yet touched the surface and there is no date yet set. By the time MS eventually gets something out Google and Apple have plenty of time to up their game. Watch this space.

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Re: This Is True Of All Tablets

What's unique about the iPad is that unless it jailbroken, there's no mouse. So using the iPad as a terminal to a remote desktop is impractical. Sure, you can use an on-screen mouse. Now try lifting your arm to touch the screen all day. Make sure you have the number of a chiropractor handy. Going to solve that problem by lying the device flat? Make sure you give the doctor a call when you start feeling twinges in your back from being hunched over the device.

Being 'enterprise' is more than apps. Its about security of the OS. Its about control over deployment. Security of sensitive information. Not forcing people to work in ways that infringe laws like employment and health and safety. The iPad is a nice device but the 'enterprise' issue is not going to be solved by app developers. And don't give be crap about 'windoze'. Sometimes Windows is as bloated as it is to address these issues. Apple can get there but in my view, their products are not there yet.

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Really? I would never have guessed!

Thanks for letting me know that an iPad using Apple's consumer software is no good at work - I would never have worked that out!

While you are at it why didn't you point out that MS Publisher is no good for serious publishing work.

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Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

"While you are at it why didn't you point out that MS Publisher is no good for serious publishing work." -- thanks for that, consider my day truly brightened up :)

I would also add that "Microsoft Access is not for serious database work".

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Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

I'm not convinced Access is good for any database work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

"I'm not convinced Access is good for any database work."

That's most unfair. Technically I'm sure that you are right, but users have been able to create the most remarkable applications on top of it, that have a remarkable habit of becoming business critical. IT then move in, moan about how difficult it is to put all this right etc.

But why do users do this? Usually because getting IT involved makes things slower, more costly, and often doesn't deliver what the user wanted. If you accept Access as a prototyping tool for users, then it's not bad at all.

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Linux

Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

@AC 12:40

"Technically I'm sure that you are right, but users have been able to create the most remarkable applications on top of it, that have a remarkable habit of becoming business critical" -- True, but typical admin users tend not to adhere to good programming practises and access tends to let them get away with many of these faux pas without pointing out to them that column names should not really contain spaces or funny characters like '?' or apostrophes.

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Joke

Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

@Miek

Life in the Ivory Tower would be great except for those damn users!! I mean, who do they think they are writing VBA macros. Sacre bleu, they haven't even read our IT department coding standards manual! I say, make em all use Ipads, that way they won't be able to any DIY coding.

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Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

Our senior management didn't work it out, guess, or even consult IT. No, they've gone down the old fashioned public sector route of just spending £000s of your money on fashionable novelties and THEN discovering they're no good for serious work. There again, maybe that's a 'match' after all...

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Linux

Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

@Serendipity

Quite! Damn the users to Hell and back (we need them back otherwise I would be out of a job)

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Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

I agree wholeheartedly with the statements regarding users and Access - start them will full fat SQL to demonstrate why we don't use anything other than alphanumeric characters rather than just telling them not to do it. Let them see what issues it causes for themselves. Apparently this is too practical an approach though as it might actually teach someone something useful and has had to be filed under the same heading as percussive maintenance on users rather than just hardware and the merits of high voltage in its application as a training aid.

With respect to the article, the iPad actually functions quite well as a remote access tool but that's about the only area I've seen it shine in our firm - that's in the hands of the technical staff who understand its limitations rather than the coloured pencil office. I'll still take a Transformer Prime over an iPad for anything more demanding as typing on screen is still a nuisance.

The icon seemed appropriate as it's where I am and what I'm doing at the moment.

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Linux

Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

If you can really fend for yourself, then that's all well and good. Except you can't. You will inevitably get to the point where you need to be bailed out by the exact same people who's advice you decided to ignore.

Those of us with a clue will have to clean up after you like a nanny chasing a toddler.

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Re: Really? I would never have guessed!

And we might as well also state the bleeding obvious, that "Microsoft Works", doesn't.

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WTF?

A contradiction?

"Even simple things like embedding images in documents or emails are difficult in the streamlined iPad experience. That may make for a slick consumer experience, but it's counterproductive to getting work done in the enterprise."

Well, ignoring the fact that "embedding images in documents or emails are difficult " is easy; if it were true, how can this make for "a slick consumer experience"?

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FAIL

Hang on...

I thought this column was supposed to be about open source, right???

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jai
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shock horror

y'know, they're also utterly crap as replacements for the racks and racks of servers in our data centre. just you try setting up a full Oracle database on a cluster of iPads and try and get them to successfully fail-over to your DR cluster if someone switches one off.

It's shocking that a tablet isn't the completely technological replacement for absolutely EVERYTHING! (as Norman Stansfield might say). Thank god Matt Asay has brought this to our attention!

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Re: shock horror

What do you need those racks of servers for, accept hosting multiplayer games? As anybody knows, REAL WORK (tm) is done with Word, Excel and Powerpoint!

Off to the pub, hopefully the bartender is not working and gives me a beer!

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Go

iPads in the enterprise

We use iPads in the enterprise here, but they are used as an adjunct to desktop/laptops not a replacement. For example, at meetings we all bring iPads now and make notes on them and read documents on them. We also use iPads (and smartphone, a mix of iphone or android) for telephony using softphone clients.

I agree that an iPad will note be used for writing that 20 page tender document or for complex budget forecasting, but it is used to distribute the documents and viewing wherever and whenever needed.

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Re: iPads in the enterprise

Thank you Quentin you nailed it. Present day Ipads and tablets in general aren't meant to be desktop replacements. They were originally created as a shiny toy for consuming content. I believe their evolution will lead to eventual replacement of desktops if Windows 8, the increasing sales of tablets and all-in-one PCs with touch screen are any indication.

We have meetings where some bring Ipads and some bring laptops - I belong to the latter category although my netbook weighs about the same as an Ipad. It's just more versatile and can do more than any tablet can do - presently.

I've always wondered why tablet manufacturers and devs haven't been more focused in trying to seize a bigger chunk of the corporate pie. Limited hardware resources?

Beer icon because it's Friday and pub o'clock approacheth!

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Re: iPads in the enterprise

Agreed, tablets on the whole fill a useful slot in the enterprise ecosystem as long as you understand their limitations and use them in a realistic manner. I have no need for large amounts of processing power when on the move, hate smart phones with a passion and dislike the laptop boot times. As long as I have a wifi point within range I can access my desktop easily over a VPN connection and retrieve what I need to on the fly. If that's not available I move the necessary files to the tablet first. I may use a Transformer Prime rather than an iPad but it's a mix of Android and iOS devices used for the same purpose within the company.

Oddly enough, it's the IT department that use them most. Something to do with realistic expectations I believe!

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Linux

Re: iPads in the enterprise

Quite. Effective use of tablets for "serious work" seem to center about their media consumption capabilities. If you have a business task that can be described in those Quicktime-esque terms then you're good. Beyond that, you should not drink the kool-aid so much.

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Joke

Re: iPads in the enterprise

"We have meetings where some bring Ipads and some bring laptops"

The ones with ipads are playing Angry Birds. It's a hint the meetings are too dull :)

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Linux

Is this just another case of Microsoft's marketing department trying to tell us what to think? Although I'm not a fan of the iPad, Microsoft have a lot (a hell of a lot) of work ahead of them before they can actually compete with this device. Just slapping Windows 8 on a touch screen device and adding the surface moniker isn't going to cut the mustard, particularly in the enterprise sector that has pretty much adopted the iPad as the go to device in this arena.

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Mushroom

Enterprises only allow iPads because users demand a tablet device. As soon as a Microsoft solution is available, everyone will beat a path to it like the better mousetrap that it clearly is....

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Megaphone

"Redmond's shortcomings could become assets in the post-PC era"

For example, having no decent games would encourage staff TO GET BACK TO WORK.

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"Consumer grade"?

I object to this characterisation of "consumer grade" as simple and shallow, "enterprise grade" as solid and powerful. I've seen more rushed, low-complexity, and downright incompetent work done with these allegedly better tools in businesses than I have outside of the workplace. Call them "feature-light" if you want, but calling it consumer software should not be an insult.

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