5 Reasons Your Small Business Should Consider Apple’s iPad

Updated: January 27, 2010

  1. Immediate Usability. The iPad runs iPhone applications with no software modifications required. And there are iPhone/iPod Touch apps for a wide range of business activities and functions, from CRM to billing to travel management. This means that if your business is already using iPhone apps, moving to the iPad should present no problems. (Like the iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad also comes with several applications already installed for tasks such as e-mail and contact management).

    There are already numerous iPhone/iPod Touch apps that provide varying levels of compatibility and interoperability with Microsoft Office applications and files. In addition, versions of Apple's iWorks programs, which include word processing, presentation creation and editing and other functions compatible with Microsoft Office, are available for the iPad for $9.95 per application. The ability to create, review and project presentations from an iPad may be sufficient to justify its use at many companies.

  2. Powerful Portability. Every Apple iPad includes a 1-gigahertz (GHz) central processor, a promised 10 hours of battery life and a 9.7-inch touch screen. The iPad is also only one-half inch thick and weighs approximately 1.5 pounds. This combination of features gives the iPad more computing power and speed than any smartphone, and greater portability than many if not most notebooks (and at least some netbooks).

  3. Comprehensive Connectivity. Every iPad is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with 3G cellular connectivity available as an option. In addition, the 3G-equipped iPads will be unlocked, which means that users can pick and choose from among cellular carriers. This will provide greater flexibility and freedom of choice than is currently available with iPhones or their direct competitors, each of which is so far tied to a single specific carrier and that company's pricing.

  4. Attractive Pricing. With retail pricing starting at $499 for a 16-GB, Wi-Fi-equipped model, the iPad is competitive with many higher-end netbooks and lower-end notebooks. And the iPad promises its own version of the user experience that has attracted millions of users and thousands of application developers to the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms.

    For those willing to go with AT&T as their 3G carrier of choice, that company is offering iPad users an unlimited data plan for $29.95 per month. That price includes free access to AT&T's thousands of Wi-Fi hot spots, including most Starbucks locations and many other public places. (A plan capped at 250 megabytes of data per month is also available for $14.99 per month.) Focus believes this is very aggressive pricing that other carriers may be forced to match if they want to compete with AT&T for iPad user accounts. Focus also believes that if the iPad is successful, that success could raise the visibility of connectivity and data speed problems cited by users across the U.S. These appear to be caused by user demand growing faster than carrier network capacities, which AT&T and others are striving to increase.

  5. Apps and Accessories. Apple has emphatically proven its ability to attract both users and developers to the iPhone, the iPod and Apple's AppStore. Focus expects this trend to continue and accelerate with the introduction of the iPad. This means that if there is not yet a compelling application for your particular business available on the iPad, there probably will be such an application soon. Also, the iPad will support connection to accessories such as a physical keyboard, cameras, projectors and external displays. Focus believes that current and future applications and accessories will enable a growing range of configuration and deployment options that can be tailored to specific business needs and goals.
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