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iPads for business – Part 2: The drawbacks!

So if you read last weeks blog post on the benefits of iPads you may be about ready to run off and buy one for your business right now. They’re lightweight, offer great battery life and lets face it they are incredibly desirable. However, you may want to consider some of the limitations of iPads before you take the plunge (yes, I know it’s almost heresy to say so but iPads are not perfect).

What an iPad is not

We touched on this in our first post in this series. Namely that the iPad is not a Microsoft device and does not run Windows. On first glance this may not seem like an issue but there are some circumstances were you may need to run Windows based software.

Consider these cases:

  • You have some bespoke business software that runs on Windows
  • You use Office extensively and need full Office functionality on the road
  • You need to use software that does not have an IOS version such as Sage Line 50
  • You have paid for software that runs on Windows and don’t want to pay for new software on your iPad
  • There simply isn’t an app that does what you need

In each of these cases an iPad would not tick all of the boxes and you would require a laptop or tablet running Windows. It could be that an iPad would do 90% of what you require but that the 10% is still enough to rule it out as your sole mobile device.

Drawbacks of the iPad over a laptop

Even assuming that you are happy with the functionality of an iPad and are sure that you can find apps that fulfil all of your needs you may still rule it out on other grounds.

It’s worth bearing these points in mind:

  • The iPad does not work with flash based websites. Whilst a lot of businesses have re-engineered their websites to work on IOS devices, not all have.
  • File storage can be clunky and illogical. Accessing files on an IOS device is unlike anything you may have seen before. Whilst there are ways around the way IOS deals with files they can be clunky and prone to user error. For those used to a PC that has a shared file system this is irksome at best and a complete show stopper at worst.
  • There is no facility for expanding the storage or saving files to flash memory cards. I.e. you can’t just pop a 16GB SD card in to an iPad like you can with most other devices. The size of iPad you buy to start with is what you have for the life of the device.
  • There are no USB ports, network ports, CD/DVD drives or other such technological delights you may be used to on a laptop. This may not be an issue but it’s worth bearing in mind before you ditch that laptop completely.
  • It’s a touch screen device and typing large chunks of text will always be slower than using a traditional keyboard.

So there you have it – the drawbacks in a nutshell. Many people will decide that whilst the iPad only does 90% of what they are after, it does it so well that it’s worth sacrificing that last 10%. Equally they may decide to take both a laptop and iPad on the road and use the two in different ways and at different times. Whatever you decide it’s worth piloting any iPad roll-out before you spend a great deal on devices. This way you can be sure that you don’t end up missing some critical business function that the iPad is simply not capable of fulfilling.


Posted on by Tim
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