Compare and contrast... I've just read one article that says notebook PCs will survive the (re-)emergence of the tablet in the enterprise, and another that says enterprises need to get with the iPad as fast as possible.
Don Reisinger's piece for eWeek enumerates the points against the tablet/iPad (they're not the same thing, but the line gets blurry). One of his points is that iPads aren't as controllable as Windows PC - that is, it's harder for IT departments to restrict what users do with them. iPads are too much fun: they'll lead to reduced productivity.
Over at Gartner, David Willis takes the success of smartphones in the enterprise as a bellwether. Smartphones snuck in under the corporate IT radar. Sneered at as toys, they turned out to be powerful business tools. iPads will infiltrate the organization too, led by salespeople.
What we have here are two very different forecasts, both of which are based, in their own ways, on a common premiss: the restrictiveness of IT departments. Reisinger looks for business benefits associated with tablets and can't find any, while Willis sees the preferences of key influencers as being beneficial in themselves.
I'd like to say I can see both sides of the argument, or can see some middle ground. But I think both accounts miss the central point, which is: What are the apps that would drive a business to invest in tablets as opposed to PCs? What are the user situations that are crying out for iPads? And, if such needs exist, how come they didn't succumb to Windows-based tablets a decade ago?
One obvious app for the iPad, as I've mentioned before on this blog, is ACORD eForms. For some folks, filling out eForms on an iPad with the customer alongside will be an attractive proposition.