iPad 2: can it be the CIO's friend?

People are already queuing for the new iPad, due to launch at 5pm on Friday, but it is not only consumers who will be eager to get hold of new tablet devices.

People are already queuing for the new iPad, due to launch at 5pm on Friday, but it is not only consumers who will be eager to get hold of new tablet devices.

Deloitte's research suggests that millions of units will be shipped to retail, hospital, military, and banking markets. "People are increasingly talking about tablet computers as a work tool, and the business market could represent 40% of the tablet market in 2014. In 2011 it should account for 25% of the market. In some ways, the virtues of tablets - being easy to use, virus-resistant and portable - are enormously appealing to businesses," said Peter O'Donoghue, head of Deloitte's technology practice.

"The next few weeks should see a flurry of new devices launched, with an increasing spread of prices. Devices marketed as 'tablets' are likely to be available from as little as £100, rising to many hundreds of pounds for higher-end tablets with 3G and plenty of memory."

iPad faces competition

But Apple is likely to remain the device of choice for most people. Russell Braterman, marketing director of Phones 4u, said, "Increased competition within the category will continue to challenge Apple, but with 96% of the 535 people surveyed 'loving' Apple due to its style and impressive product launches, it is safe to say the iPad 2 may be the tablet they consider purchasing."

Businesses are likely to see more people trying to use tablets for business use. Mark Heraghty, managing director of Virgin Media Business, said: "With the launch of the iPad 2, the boundaries between what is a 'work' gadget and what is not have blurred even further. There are two key concerns for business: firstly that this is yet another channel via which corporate data can be stolen or misused, and secondly that the network will be flooded with even more traffic that is unaccounted for."

Gadgets in business

While corporate IT standards for gadgets do not exist, the iPad has an avid fan base among IT managers and CIOs. Tim Coulling, an analyst at Canalys, and an iPad user, said: "For middle and senior management who spend the majority of the day emailing and looking at news, the battery life on a tablet device is far better than a notebook PC. For people who do not need to edit spreadsheets, the tablet form factor is a good fit."

And unlike a laptop, iPads can be used by people who spend the majority of their working day away from their desk.

"There are a few products that offer IT people datacentre-based apps to monitor your datacentre from your iPhone," he said. But an iPhone is not the same as a native iPad app. "While an iPhone app will run on the iPad, it will either shrink the display to an iPhone screen or stretch the screen resolution to fit on the iPad screen , which leads to degradation of screen quality."

As an owner of the original iPad, Coulling said: "I was very impressed by the new [iPad 2] product; it is thin and light and offers a dual-core processor."

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