Is there anything new to say on the iPad2?

Almost certainly not, given its amazing success.  It’s certainly still flying out of our John Lewis electrical sections.

I have had mine for a 3 weeks now and was reflecting this morning on why I just like it so much.

My conclusion was that my enthusiasm is not entirely logical, since what my iPad2 does is not that much different from my iPad1.  I have largely the same Apps, and use it in much the same way and same places.  Sure, I have used the camera a bit, and the screen resolution is fantastic.   The main difference is that I have changed the background!

So why do I love it?  Well, it’s the overall experience of using something so brilliantly designed.  The cover is pure genius, with the magnetic screen springing the machine into life as soon as you open it and acting as the holder. The amazing thinness of the body and the form and colour.  The way you can use it to do your emails standing up on the way to work on South West Trains (UGH), make notes at meetings, Facetime with the family, tweet, blog – and provide the background music to a picnic on the Norfolk Broads.  All at the tap of a few fingers.  And this has hardly scratched the surface.

I know we take all this for granted now, but just stand back and think about how IT has changed – and is changing – the way we interact with each other in significant and rather enjoyable ways.

Nothing new so far, I grant.   Lots of people gush like me about the iPad – and, as they say, other tablets and phones are available, which also provide comparable, amazingly easy-to-use services.

But what happens when we apply this wonderful world of convenient computing and social networking to corporate IT?

I am a CIO/IT Director by profession. The computing experience of almost all of us at work is, these days, very different from our experience at home and with our own smart phones.

There is absolutely no criticism here of the people who run in-house corporate IT, since this is all about cost and relative priority.  The cost of basic desktops, laptops, emails, software licences, networks (and security that has to go alongside) runs into several millions in all corporates.  If there is an investment choice between customer facing IT or in-house, there is of course no contest!

So we work very hard to give our customers on johnlewis.com a great shopping experience and to integrate our online world into our multi-channel branches.

As the old Hollywood saying goes, “put all the money on the screen”.   There are obvious and very good reasons for this – customer service, competition, ROIC, security, business priorities and so forth.  And yet…..

Perhaps the biggest challenge for us in the IT Service profession (that’s CIOs and suppliers) these days is to work out how we can make it as easy (and, dare I say, as cool and fun) to use our internal systems and corporate hardware; as it is to use our external systems using one’s personal smart-phones, iPads and so on.  And of course to do this in an affordable way.

So I would be really interested in your thoughts here.  Perhaps is self-provide the answer?  Is it the famous Cloud?  Can we really make business cases that will fly?

About paulcoby
I am CIO at the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. I was Chair of SITA - the airline solutions company owned by the Air Transport Community - for 11 years. I am also on the Boards of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank and Pets at Home. Previously I was Head of BA Services and for 10 years CIO at British Airways. I am interested in Roman and Military History. The views expressed are entirely my own not my employers.

2 Responses to Is there anything new to say on the iPad2?

  1. Paul,

    An interesting perspective.

    I believe the real opportunity for enterprise technology is to execute on the challenge you lay out so clearly. There would be considerable benefits in reduced training, time to productivity and possibly even reductions in device costs as we allow people to use their own, maybe even contributing towards their costs for staff at a fraction of the total cost. Pride of ownership might drive better behaviour towards the corporate assets.

    The cloud per se, does not solve the problem, application development shops do. We need incentives for developers inside and outside to solve business problems and make it easy for people to use enterprise applications. We need to think about the architectures in terms of the level of “openess”. Apple obviously do this well.

    For me real and active competition ultimately drives affordability. We need competition and we need to accelerate innovation and development to make these changes in enterprise systems.

    Richard Clarke
    Travel Technology Research Ltd
    http://www.t2rl.net
    http://www.t2rl.com

  2. Wow you upgraded from iPad to iPad2, I’m not even sold on the benefits of having a tablet at all yet!

    But seriously, I was very impressed with the iPad2 and did consider purchasing one for promotional use (my business includes mobile app development – shameless plug here but still found my company money better spent on an iPhone 4.

    As a developer I have to go where the money is, even on a small scale purchase like a phone or handset. iPhone apps are still being built at a significantly greater rate than iPad specific apps. As the iPad runs iPhone apps anyway that may be seen as splitting hairs but that’s the market we work in…

    In a previous life I was an IT manager, trying to bring a consumer-like experience to the corporate IT world. Its hard principally because in order to make their home gadgets work smoothly and simply a lot of people ignore, overlook or are just unaware of the security implications.

    Hence we find stories hitting the papers and blogs about Android handsets leaking personal data, 60 percent of Facebook users having “password” as a password, a minority of iPhone users setting a swipe pattern to unlock, etc. etc. none of which would be acceptable in the commercial/corporate world yet have been a key part of the consumerisation movement.

    I firmly believe that biometrics are the answer both in the corporate and consumer markets but we are a way off that technology being fully affordable for these kinds of deployments.

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