The iPad breaks into the corporate world

Further good news for Apple. The iPad looks set to rival the Blackberry as the must-have corporate gizmo, judging by the latest research from Forresters, which found that as well as the expected consumer excitement over the device, companies are starting to use iPad for serious sales and information purposes.

Mercedes-Benz has brought in iPads to 40 of its dealerships, using its own app to provide information about discounts and tools for applying for credit, while health giant Kaiser Permanente has been trialling viewing X-rays and scans through the gadget.

Furthermore Apple has claimed that half the Fortune 100 are deploying or testing the iPad. In response Microsoft, Dell and Toshiba are all developing rival machines, with further devices expected from Acer, Samsung and Lenovo.

Currently just 500 of the 10,000 or more apps available on the iPad are aimed at companies but this is bound to grow exponentially.

It’s all a form of “tablet mania” among consumers and businesses alike, with the iPad becoming a major electronics category all by itself, according to Forresters.

In its survey 95 per cent of respondents had heard of the iPad, while only 75 per cent had heard of the Kindle, Amazon’s book reader, despite this being launched three years ago. Although only 1.3 per cent owned an iPad, 3.8 per cent intended to buy one, while owners were 40 percent more likely to use Twitter than the norm.

While the iPad audience currently fits the classic early adopter profile, it’s clear that within a few years, just like the iPod, it will become a mainstream product. Clearly Apple has yet another hit on its hands.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.