Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple 'tablet' - a technology distraction?

The soon to be officially announced Apple Tablet (or whatever name it will be given) is just another technology distraction for companies. How can this obviously consumer focused product help businesses or IT work better? It is doing a great job filling space on the tech websites (7 articles on Mashable, 6 on Techcrunch, top story on, which probably means that your geek employees will be watching the announcement rather than doing useful work (just kidding).

I expect that the device will be cool. It will almost certainly work incredibly well, providing a large screen browsing capability. Media such as movies and pictures will probably look amazing. I'm sure there will be some really cool games.

And for business? Oh, you'll be able to access your email and check out your corporate website. Maybe, Google Apps will work with the touch interface, for some nice document editing with your grubby fingerprints all over the screen.

Or how about something really game changing? How about providing 3D navigation of CAD diagrams for service technicians fixing complex machinery in the field? Drag and rotate the renditions of 3D components around with a greasy finger. Review the plans for those roadworks that will make commuters lives miserable, even as the first jackhammer hits tarmac. How about an online chart that a doctor could actually use when doing his or her rounds in a hospital? Not just the mini-PDA devices they get forced on them today, but something useful in size, that can pull the images of the patient's X-rays from the central server at the bedside.

Still, for the rest of us who spend our lives in offices, the most obvious appearance of the Apple Tablet will probably be when we venture out to Starbucks for a blast of energy. If you're in your mid-20's, I wonder how uncool it will be to have a MacBook and not a 'Tablet'.

For now, I think the game changer in the office will continue to be how we work, not how tactile the device is.

A post from the Improving It blog

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