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Network World - The new third-generation Apple iPad is generally a hit with a sampling of enterprise users, based on quick reactions from half a dozen IT professionals and consultants. All like the greatly enhanced display, the graphics processing boost and 4G LTE wireless support.
But a few were hoping for a bigger processing boost or one of several specific features, a number of which Apple seems unlikely to ever deliver (like support for Adobe Flash Web content). And several noted that the real locus for enterprise benefits, and problems, lies in the latest update to the iOS firmware (release 5.1 for the new iPad), about which Apple has had little to say publicly.
Dubbed simply the "new iPad," Apple’s latest tablet features double the screen resolution of the iPad 2 and four times the pixels at 2048 x 1536, a slightly beefed up dual-core CPU (the A5X) with a new quad-core graphics processor, LTE cellular support, voice dictation, and a greatly improved rear-facing 5-megapixel camera. It will run iOS 5.1 and be available starting next week. Importantly, both pricing and battery life are unchanged.
"The processor speed, 4G, and improved screen resolutions are all big pluses for the enterprise," says Manoj Prasad, vice president of global applications and testing for Life Technologies, a biotech products company in Carlsbad, Calif., with a growing iPad deployment. "4G, the new processor speed and improved screen resolutions will allow IT to port more backend applications like Oracle, and Siebel to iPad."
But he still thinks the tablet can’t yet substitute for laptops. "It still lacks the capabilities to completely replace laptops, making the ROI calculation for iPad difficult," Prasad says.
Others say Apple’s priorities for the new iPad means it can be applied in entirely new, emerging areas where laptops make no sense, or at least no sense anymore.
"For an understanding of where the iPad is going it's critical to note the focus on processing power and resolution," says Benjamin Levy, a principal with Solutions Consulting, a Los Angeles firm that specializes in Apple and iOS deployments for enterprise customers. "The iPad is no longer an addition to existing platforms and work structures but is now fully capable on its own and will be defining new ways of working with media in the professional space."
"The new iPad can be seen as more of a tool for digital media than ever before, able to work with high resolution DSLRs [digital single lens reflex camera images] and video, high resolution audio files, high resolution graphics files, etc.," Levy adds.
Although lacking the quad-core CPU that many were expecting, these users see real performance gains with the new iPad.
"The combination of the retina display, the [new A5X] chip and 4G/LTE is going to make the iPad an even more productive business device," says Hugh Owens, director of mobile at MicroStrategy, a business intelligence and analytics software vendor with an extensive iPad 2 deployment, and with iPad customers. "4G will enable users of MicroStrategy Mobile [the company’s iOS application] to pull down analytics even faster, and our native app is already positioned to take advantage of the A5X chip for faster and more compelling rendering."