Insights and opinions on Information Technology from George Tomko, a veteran CIO turned renegade consultant.

Rant:

iPad Frenzy: more about a movement than a gadget

The iPad is a beautiful thing. I have not had one in my hands yet, but have seen several demos. I had seen enough and ordered one. The 64GB wifi + 3G model. I justified the $1,200+ cost (after accessories, AppleCare, taxes etc.) because it was close to my birthday, actually the day before. Iwill have to wait until “late April” before it ships.

Why would I do such a thing? Why would anybody? Simple – it fills (or at least promises to fill)  a major void and lots of gaps that many of us have. Anybody with one arm longer than the other from lugging around laptop poundage knows that light, powerful, practical — AND fun, slick, cool — is quite a gap filler.

Most of all, though, is that it won’t be long, in my humble opinion, before business and personal computing is forever blurred by the phenomenon of  ”bring your own device”. That device can be an iTouch, iPhone, iPad, iMac — i-anything — as much as it can be a net book, tablet PC, laptop, desktop, smartphone or even Web TV.

It will soon make little sense for companies to be acquiring, distributing, managing and dealing with PCs for individual workers (except for the shop floor or other dedicated or location and function-specific scenarios). Indeed, many people have gear at home that is better and faster than the crippled, locked-up, expensive and unfriendly standard-issue work machine that they get every four years or so.

Desktop virtualization, what some call the “dynamic desktop” is the answer that abstracts the user personalization and experience from the actual device. Corporate policies and security are managed at the server and most any device can be supported for access to the company’s e-mail and internal business systems. Even more sophisticated and powerful applications such as engineering can even be served up to the right device.

Back to the iPad. I am a road warrior. I am sick of lugging things around. I use the devices that I want to use and work with my clients to connect to portals and the cloud rather than taking one of their laptops. The iPad form factor will be copied, morphed and will ultimately be a metaphor for a simple, functional and WOW device that can connect to something like Citrix’s XenDesktop and act like a work machine when it needs to.

So, it is not so important that it is Apple. They have simply shown that they are the current kings of tapping in to the unmet needs of the market which is causing a movement away from the malware infested, middling laptops and PCs that can’t do much of anything practical anymore.

©2010 Tomko Tek, LLC All Rights Reserved. iPad picture grab Copyright © 2010 Apple Inc. All rights reserved