As Ship Date Approaches, iPad Interest Not Limited To Just Consumers

By  Mike Cole — March 30, 2010

The April 3, 2010 date approaches (as of this writing) for Apples iPads to begin selling in the retail space -- but corporate customers are also intrigued by the possibilities of Apple's new tablet.

News has it that the 670 Best Buy stores selling the iPad on launch day will be extremely limited in quantity: fifteen iPads will be in stock at each store, with five each distributed among the three price points Apple is currently offering.

Steve Jobs and company are still assessing where it needs the most inventory: Apple started taking early orders for the iPad on March 12, offering consumers the choice of home delivery or collecting them in stores.

While electronic consumers enthusiastically await the April 3 launch date, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that a number of companies will also be trying out the new tablet -- predicted to be yet another revolutionary innovation from Apple.

Among the organizations who have already placed their orders, according to the Chronicle, are Salesforce.com (which offers its CRM solution for the iPhone), Charles Schwab, Good Technology and Electronic Arts.

Keen interest is also being reported on the healthcare front: the Chronicle noted, for instance, that Kaiser Pemanente's Innovation & Advanced Technology Group has preordered two iPads to test how doctors and nurses will be able to access medical files on the go.

"We want to see how feasible it is for our clinicians to use the device to connect to our electronic healthcare systems and collaborate more efficiently with staff and patients," Kaiser IT professional Sean Chai explained to the newspaper. "The idea is for our clinicians to be able to use the iPad to spend more time with the patient at the bedside so we can keep improving patient care and improve staff satisfaction."

Slalom Consulting, which builds software for enterprise clients, told the Chronicle it had preordered several iPads, which it said it plans to use to develop applications.

Good Technology, the provider of push e-mail and mobile device management and security products for mobile phones, has placed an order for the Apple tablet itself and is preparing to release an iPad version of the product.

Analysts state it is still unclear how consumers will respond to the iPad, because it is an untested category of computer bigger than a smartphone and less powerful than a laptop.

Good Technology CEO Brian Bogosian is clearly a cheerleader of the new deice. "This kind of device category is tailor-made for enterprise employees, people who are collaborating, communicating and accessing informatino," Bogosian said in an interview with the Chronicle.
 
Writing in his blog, Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler predicted the iPad will prove popular as a third device after a laptop and smart phone -- especially as mobile professionals make up 28 percent of the workforce.

"IT will support it in many organizations," he said. "It's just a big iPhone to them and already 20 percent of firms support them."

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