The Times article didn’t allow reader comments. But my piece on ZDNet did – and boy did it attract a bunch, including pro and con arguments from consumers as well as apparent IT administrators.
Since not everyone loves to scroll through comments, I thought I’d pull out the best ones:
Small Is Beautiful
“I think that the compelling use / marketing case may be that Apple offers a ‘large phone’ that can replace a laptop for a significant number of folks who travel, so that they can carry just one device. To make this really work, Apple would need killer-good voice control (like Siri, but free of the back-end link) so this device would have practical, easy, user friendly usability via BlueTooth while it remains in one’s pocket or bag, even where there is no internet availability.” – Z2217
“I have both an iPhone and a Kindle Fire. Games and media certainly work on the phone, but they are much more enjoyable on the tablet. After owning the Fire for a while I found it almost painful to look at the small graphics on the phone. And the tablet -does- fit in some coat pockets. I think the 7″ form factor has a significant market segment for people who find both the price and size of a 10″ tablet to be prohibitive.” – RoverDaddy
Small is Bad
“A 7′ tablet is definitely easier to put in a sport cost pocket than a 10″ tablet (which is what most road warriors still wear to work). But, screen resolution is a big deal to the content creator. And, unless the device uses a stylus, fingers are just too big for detailed work – even on a 10″ screen.” – M Wagner
“The biggest reason why I would never get a 7″ tablet is overlap. For most people people who already have a smartphone (myself included), we already have the functionality of a small tablet. And the newest smartphones have very large screens, some approaching 5″. A 7″ tablet only gives you a small improvement of additional screen size with the same basic functionality. A full size tablet however allows you to do things that you simply can’t do well with a smartphone. That is real added value.” – Tigertank
“Personally, I think a 5″ wide keyboard is just too small for comfortable typing.” – Vulpinemac
Forget the iPad, Go For Surface
“Win 8 tablets are general purpose machines and applications written even in the seventies will run on it. iPad is nothing but a toy, get over it.” – owllnet
“Whether in 7 inch form, or 10 inch form, the iPad is still designed as a consumption device, and if a tablet can be designed that can be both, a consumption device, as well as a production device, then, why not get the one that gives a lot more for the money, and is already compatible with most office software already in the business.” – Adornoe
“If companies want to deploy devices that provide the most bang for the buck, and offer greater flexibility for their workforce, Microsoft is clearly in a better position… assuming the Surface tablets (or other OEM tablets) don’t completely suck.” – paddyarizona
The Bottom Line
“Most internal applications cost millions to build. Almost all of them are written for Windows or Linux. Almost none of them will run on the iPad. Almost all of them will but on Windows 8. You can cart your shiny new iPad into the office, but when the guy next to you can use the internal applications in a meeting and you can’t you’ll have little choice. Go on, ask your company to rewrite its multi-million dollar app for iOS. Unless your company is all Apple, it doesn’t make sense.” – A Gray
Still A Toy
“There are legions of IT staffs waiting for an alternative that is a legitimate component of an Enterprise ecosystem. This is most important in the Small to Medium-sized Businesses, where once you go with a tablet line, you’re stuck with it for a very, very long time. Of the two iPads we were forced to adopt, neither user is satisfied with how they integrate into an Active Directory environment. It’s a neat toy, and my mom sure loves surfacing the web on hers. But other than checking email and watching movies on a flight, the iPad is not a workstation or laptop replacement for real work.” – BowTech
Not So Fast!
“Enterprise is already buying tablets – they’re not waiting for Microsoft.” – Falkirk
“The Microsoft Surface still has many, many unknowns associated with it — starting from whether Microsoft could manufacture it at all, to whether it will actually take off. Enterprises have already experimented with Windows tablets for about a decade — it has been wasted effort so far. I believe many enterprises will be more likely investing in Android tablets, than in Windows tablets.” – danbi
It’s All About E-Mail
“I speak only for a small business of 25 employees, five of whom have struggled with integrating iPads into their business practice: poor Exchange performance; miserable MS Office file compatibility (going through QuickOffice/Docs to Go/iWorks and back to Word makes me yearn for the bad old days of round-tripping documents between Word and WordPerfect – the formatting NEVER survives); lack of a real file system for browsing network shares…need I go on? Up until now, those enterprise customers willing to give tablets a go had no choice. Come this fall, Surface and other hybrids from Asus, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, and Dell, will finally deliver a reason to have a tablet in the enterprise.” – dksmidtx
“‘Poor Exchange performance’ I call BS. We have probably 500 users (if not more) accessing Exchange email from iOS devices. We only upgraded from Exchange 2003 to 2010 this year (Jan). The iOS devices worked perfectly against 2003 and 2010. There was some known bugs with iOS against 2003 but we never saw them.” – JeveSobs
“JeveSobs – our experience is only with an online Exchange Server, but still have syncing problems with email and appointments (given your screen name, I’ll excuse the calling of BS by an Apple fanboy).” – dksmidtx
Apple Not Enterprise-Friendly
“Apple is a consumer company and has no desire to be a enterprise partner. We’ve had dialog with them for years and they refuse to change (which I agree why should they as their making money hand over fist). This is why they will remain a niche option. Considering most corporations are moving to full BYOD so the days of large corporate liable devices are going away. Are employees prepared for this new model and understand what they will be responsible for? My guess is once given (if given) a technology stipend most employees will use it for the cheapest option to enable them to work, or just do without.” – MobileAdmin
“Sorry guys, I actual(ly) work on Enterprise Management software for one of the biggest names in the industry. We are adding MacOSX and iPad support, but mainly in limited capacity as the vast by far number of customer are Windows system. The indicators are that most will move to Windows 8 and most of the enterprises will move to Surface tablets via Win 8. By the way, we support more Android tablets and phone in the Enterprise than iPads/iPhones by far. These are real numbers folks, not just opinions. If the trend changes, we’ll add more support, but the indicators are they are not.” – gbohrn
Stop Blaming Cupertino!
“A real IT person would not care here the device came from. A real IT person can easily use a Unix variant, as opposed to a Fake IT person, that only knows Windows.” – Jumpin Jack Flash
“If the IT staff cannot do their job, which is to ensure the enterprise IT is run competently and helps the enterprise be competitive — then by all means, fire those useless people and employ knowledgeable people for the job.” – danbi
What’s The Point?
“I don’t see much benefit for Apple to release a 7 inch tablet other than gaining marketshare at the expense of revenue. I’m not sure the enterprise is looking at the current Ipads and wishing the screen was somehow smaller as if it would make the Ipad somehow more productive in the office.” – Emacho
Don’t Believe The Hype
“Businesses are barely finding a use for tablets now as it is and having a smaller one isn’t going to change the work flow. I’ve seen people try to make up any excuse to use their tablets just because they have one. They struggle to find a use case for it in the enterprise. Because of that we told them no it won’t be connected to our network.” – Loverock Davidson
I Don’t Care About Any Of This!
“I just want my pre-ordered Google Nexus 7 to come in!” – Justthisguyyouknow