Much ado about iPad

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From a prominent blog I read recently: “iPad? This thing just made the iPhone into an iPad Nano! What’s the point? Is someone really going to swap their iPhone for an iPad? I mean really – another toy for the geek that has everything…his backpack just cluttered up with another 2 lbs!”

Is that all the iPad is? Just another gimmicky tech-toy? I admit, I was dying to get my hands on an iPad! However, not just for my inner geek. Apple’s products are emerging as a kind bridge between work and play…and I love the direction they are going. Macs are easy to use, multimedia workhorses; with the right apps they can be pretty powerful business tools. 

A while back I decided to buy a Mac and find out for myself what all the hype was about. I brought it home, gave it to my 9 year old son and said “make it go!” 10 minutes later he had it running and he was online. He was surfing and enjoying the experience but soon he left to play games on his PC. Impressed, I jumped on the machine, installed the Citrix XenDesktop Client and connected to my stuff at our Data Centre. Funny enough, my son came back down, saw the familiar Windows start menu and Office apps, and said over my shoulder, “Dad! How did you fix the Mac?!??”

I have since been scooping up Apple’s technology to see how well it performs as a work/play bridge. I downloaded the Citrix Receiver for my iPod Touch (yes, there’s an App for that). With minimal effort, I was able to get my Windows 7 Desktop onto the 3″ screen. Are you impressed? I was. Being able to slide around the screen, pinch and stretch Outlook attachments, it’s all pretty cool…But is a 3″ screen a realistic business tool?…Enter the iPad.

I have been involved in application delivery technology for nearly 20 years; I am still impressed by the ability to open a new computer and with a few clicks, have a menu of personalized apps, favourites, shortcuts; everything running properly and safely from a central Data Centre(s). Two weeks ago I opened my new iPad, synced it with iTunes to get my personal stuff working, then grabbed the Citrix Receiver App from the iTunes Store, and I kid you not…I had Windows 7 and all my apps running in under 5 minutes.

Further, the GotoMeeting client allowed me to jump into an online meeting and run from my office to a meeting room. During the meeting I was able to grab facts, take notes, and bolt out to my next meeting (which was downtown) without going back to my desk. Sure, you could do all this with a laptop, but not as efficiently.

So, now we have a few more Wepz with iPads around the office…we added a Rogers MiFi – a 5 user 3.5G to WiFiHub with a 4 hour battery so we can share Internet access and not require separate 3G accounts per iPad. Wicked.

I don’t know how clearly Apple saw the future on this; the demand for the iPad as a business tool. They can thank Citrix for that. Citrix built a client for the iPhone over a year ago and that created a huge opportunity for both Citrix and Apple.

At our 10th Anniversary, we will be demo’ing ‘a day in the life of an IT Weapon to showcase the agility and functionality available or work/play computing.

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