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1iPad for Business 10 Things to Consider Before Making the Leap

1. ProductivityProductivity can be both increased and decreased with the iPad. Inevitably, it depends on how companies allow their employees to use the tablet. On one hand, the iPad makes for a more mobile workforce that can do more while away from the office. But on the other hand, it’s built for entertainment, which could take employee time away from actual work.

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2. No Multitasking YetAlthough Apple said it would be coming very soon, the company’s iPad still lacks multitasking. What that means for the enterprise today is that employees won’t be able to use two programs at the same time. That could be a major issue for companies. And until Apple brings multitasking to its tablet, it might be a hard sell.

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3. The RIM PlayBook Is ComingIf companies are looking for enterprise-focused tablets, the RIM PlayBook is allegedly one such device. RIM has said time and again that it’s targeting the corporate world with its upcoming tablet. However, its ads seem to indicate that it might be focusing more on consumers. In either case, maybe waiting until early 2011 to determine if the PlayBook is better than the iPad could be a smart move.

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4. So Is the Cisco CiusThe Cisco Cius was all the talk in the enterprise-tablet space when it was first announced earlier this year. But since then, it has been largely forgotten. Regardless, the device promises Android and full integration with existing Cisco products. It’s at least something worth considering as an alternative to the iPad.

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5. An Entertainment Platform?As mentioned, the iPad can be a drain on productivity. And the main reason for that is Apple’s decision to make entertainment a key component in the functionality of the device. Whether it’s playing Angry Birds, accessing Netflix, or just listening to songs in iTunes, there are several entertainment pitfalls that can impact employees.

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6. Is A Netbook Better?Companies must determine if the iPad is right for them. A netbook might be a better option. Netbooks are quite affordable and they offer a full physical keyboard, which makes them all the more attractive. More importantly, they usually boast Windows, which should help with productivity. It’s something for companies to consider.

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7. What About the MacBook Air?Apple’s MacBook Air is expensive, starting at $999, but what it lacks in affordability, it makes up for in outstanding design, portability, and a level of productivity that the iPad can’t match. Plus, if companies want to get away from Windows, it’s a great product to use in achieving that goal. The MacBook Air is simply a fine alternative to Apple’s iPad.

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8. The iPhone Could Be A Better OptionWhen deploying the iPad, companies will undoubtedly need the 3G option. And because of that, those firms will be adding another monthly fee to those they’re already paying for smartphones. That might be enough for companies to want to opt for the iPhone instead. Not only does it deliver iPad-like functionality, but it would reduce the monthly cost. Even better, the iPhone is a much less expensive product.

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9. Consider the AccessoriesThe iPad comes with a virtual keyboard that, for most workers, won’t work nearly as well as they would like when trying to get work done. Realizing that, companies will need to opt for an add-on keyboard. In addition, if users want to plug a USB device into the iPad, they will need to get an add-on dongle to do just that. The iPad might be attractive as a standalone product, but it will cost more money over time.

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10. The Apps ConsiderationApple’s iPad comes with access to every iPhone app, as well as those programs that are designed to work exclusively for the tablet. That alone could be a major selling point for the iPad. Not only does the device feature a nice operating system, but it also comes with access to apps that can extend its functionality by quite a bit. That’s something companies should keep in mind as they decide whether or not to acquire Apple’s tablet.