With Apple launching its long anticipated version of a tablet type device named iPad, analysts have had a hard time getting their heads around the WOW factor of this device. Many have been mocking it, calling it just “a giant iPod.” Well, it really is. However, it is big enough that you can actually do things on it, compact enough you can easily take it anywhere, and less expensive than a decent laptop so it has it’s own niche in the market.
Some of the hype around the iPad is its book store but I don’t think anyone is going to shell out $500 for a book reader, besides, staring at a color screen for hours must be very straining on the eyes compared to Amazon Kindle’s electronic paper display technology. Nobody is really going to buy an iPad to listen to music so it leaves it with movies/you tube and web browsing and that’s not enough reasons to spend $500 for an additional device.
So what will captivate people to make the iPad a success for Apple and make these analysts bite their tongue? Really cool apps would do it. Apps that need a larger screen than an iPhone/iPod but are simple enough they don’t need a full-blown laptop. Educational apps can definitely take advantage of the touch screen interface and provide real hands on learning experience. They must be simple to use so children can easily play with them.
The iPad is really designed for the ultimate web experience so I wonder if Apple will finally support Flash so you can run cool cloud computing apps. With the 3G version you can access the internet anywhere there is WiFi or AT&T coverage. Which brings me to the whole point of this blog. With internet connectivity and a device with a big enough screen this will open the floodgates of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). VDI is basically a desktop that you can access from anywhere using any type of device. You can have all your application on this VDI. Citrix has a product called XenDesktop that can seamlessly deliver a desktop to any device using minimal bandwidth. Imagine having access to your entire work machine from your iPad. You can login and view a file, work on a document, access a file on a network share, send an email via outlook exchange server, or do whatever it is you do on your work machine from anywhere you have internet access with your compact little iPad.
Devices like this iPad will put the cool factor in VDI and make it a more practical deployment.