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Why PCs Trump iPads For User Innovation 523

Posted by samzenpus
from the using-the-old-tools dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Bob Lewis argues that while the iPad may be opening IT's eyes to a new way to encourage end-users to innovate new solutions for their organizations, that work will better be undertaken on the PC. 'When the subject is PCs, the answer is to lock 'em down and run everything in the data center. When the subject is iPads, the answer is that there's an app for that,' Lewis writes. 'Before you decide the iPad is your platform, though, consider the factors that favor the PC. First, it's a sunk cost. Second, it's more capable. And third, your end-users are already familiar with it. Which brings us to what's particularly sad about the end-user innovation situation: Until the iPad resurrected the subject, most IT organizations have actively discouraged it. It goes beyond locking down the devices so that end-users can't install software they might find helpful in their day-to-day work or might increase efficiency in their departments.'"
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Why PCs Trump iPads For User Innovation

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  • We Already Know (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kenshin (43036) <kenshin@l u n arworks.ca> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:04PM (#37125674) Homepage

    First: The iPad is generally a media consumption machine. I thought we'd already agreed on that.

    Second: You're preaching to the choir. Or is this just an article meant to reassure us about our opinion?

  • by Nutria (679911) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:07PM (#37125700)

    (No, I didn't RTFA.)

    Being a "mainframe guy", I can't help but laugh at how PCs were brought in to break the IT stranglehold, and now after uncountabillions have been spent on virus protection and remediation (with companies still not blocking most web sites), the pendulum is now swinging back in the direction of centralized control.

  • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:17PM (#37125748)
    and come on, why was it that businesses _had_ to lock down Windows PCs in the first place? Hint, it had to do with reliability and a frail OS. And don't even get me started on how new employees were "trained" to use the computer. If you only knew how the people I've heard called guru's learned to use a spreadsheet or other app you'd ask 'and why were they called guru's?'.

    Sounds like someone likes his PC just a little too much and doesn't want to get left behind or have to learn a new trick.

    LoB
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:23PM (#37125784)

    First: The iPad is generally a media consumption machine. I thought we'd already agreed on that.

    Only Apple Haters agreed on promoting that talking point.

    In reality it's quite wrong; Even ignoring the obvious creation tools such as Garage Band, a billion drawing programs and things like iMovie, there are so many word processors and note taking apps that people make heavy use of every day... when you can easily work on screen as it is, with a stylus, or with any USB or bluetooth keyboard why would the iPad not be a good solution for day to day note taking?

    All the people that carry laptops around to meetings all day could easily do just as well with an iPad, and in fact better because they could go a day without charging and have a more compact system.

    Second: You're preaching to the choir.

    As in: Repeating the Group Think Mantra than the iPad MUST NOT SUCCEED even if (or especially if) it is easier for end users to use. After all, a device that is mostly contained and requires no maintenance also requires less IT staff...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:25PM (#37125790)
    More likely against Android tablets.

    iPads are for content consumers, not creators.

  • Re:Dev environment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Dawn Of Time (2115350) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:26PM (#37125796)

    Programming for iOS isn't especially difficult, and the Enterprise developer license doesn't involve an Apple review of the app because there is no App Store involvement, so there are essentially no restrictions. It's basically like programming a PC, because it's just a computer.

    Do simple facts count as a rational rebuttal, or shall I call you a hater as well?

  • by realmolo (574068) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:37PM (#37125878)

    It doesn't require less IT staff. It requires the same amount, if not more.

    The iPad doesn't exist in a vacuum. It still has to be managed, which isn't particularly simple since it's so locked down. And since basically NO custom business apps run on it, that means that most iPad users are going to be using Terminal Services (or similar) to get anything done. Unless apps are written to run on the iPad, or run via a web page. But that's unlikely in most businesses.

    So..considering all that, what's the real advantage of an iPad for business? Well, it's light and the battery lasts forever, and it's easier to carry than a laptop. That's ALL. In every other way, it's inferior.

    That's why IT departments hate it. It's basically a big iPhone, but people want to use it to replace their notebook. Ugh.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @11:50PM (#37125950)

    It still has to be managed, which isn't particularly simple since it's so locked down.

    I can tell you are in IT because only an IT person would insist locking down only counts if THEY locked it down.

    In reality the iPad is made for people who have to get by with NO IT DEPARTMENT, Which means it has to be as secure as IT would make it with no user intervention.

    Well, it's light and the battery lasts forever, and it's easier to carry than a laptop. That's ALL.

    That's All?

    That's EVERYTHING.

    But you also left out far greater degree of security than any laptop, with far more secure internal storage than most laptops.

    That's why IT departments hate it. It's basically a big iPhone, but people want to use it to replace their notebook. Ugh.

    IT: Screwing over the needs of the business since the dawn of time for sometimes marginal and often negative gain.

    When IT gains power, get ready for the company to ossify rapidly and proceed to get nothing done.

  • Re:Two things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by White Flame (1074973) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @12:06AM (#37126016)

    To expand on #1, touch tablets are decent for information consumption, but not content creation. And even in information consumption, tablets are only applicable where the information can be consumed on a small, low-resolution display. I don't think, for instance, that day traders with their arrays of cheap monitors will want to limit themselves to an iPad.

    Touch is a reasonably nice interface for many info browsing traversal mechanisms, though.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @12:09AM (#37126036) Journal

    I don't think the IT people have any idea what the employees using their network have to do in their day-to-day work

    You're not hanging around the same kind of IT people I do then. Most of the IT people I know, have to know at least something about the job someone is doing, in order to recommend, support, show and otherwise train people how IT can enhance their job performance and productivity with technology. We may not be intimate with the details of their job, but we know way more about what they do, than they know about we do.

    What we IT people do is pure magic* to these people. They have NO clue what it takes to keep 4500 computers, across 19 sites, running everyday with a staff of only 11. All they know is that it has something to do with boxes sitting under desks and flashing lights in a rack.

    *Any sufficient level of technology is indistinguishable from magic. We type magical incantations into computers, and the ghosts in the machine obey us. Magic.

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @12:15AM (#37126066) Homepage Journal

    Once again the "apples and oranges" comparison of PCs and Ipads rears it's head. True wisdom comes from understanding that they're tools that serve different needs; any comparison of a tablet (of any stripe) to a PC (of any kind) is nothing more than some idiot making noises to drive up clicks to the website.

    I own one of each - and a laptop, too. Which one am I using right now? You can't tell. For short posts to a website or making notes, any one of them will serve the need. Each offers advantages and drawbacks and it's always best to choose what works for you and your tasks, not what some random commenter on this site insists is the "one true way.

    Would I try to write Klines of code on the Ipad? No. Can I go mobile with the PC? No. Am I going to be away for a whole day with no chance to recharge? Notebook won't do, but an Ipad would.

    What's right for you might not be right for someone else; no matter what PC you're talking about or what tablet you're talking about - they're not intended for or capable of the same tasks.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @12:50AM (#37126210) Journal

    Most of the IT people I know, have to know at least something about the job someone is doing, in order to recommend, support, show and otherwise train people how IT can enhance their job performance and productivity with technology. We may not be intimate with the details of their job, but we know way more about what they do, than they know about we do.

    Beyond the good points you have already made, IT knows how the entire organization works. We work with everyone in the organization, from the C level executives down to the personal assistants and everyone in between. We know what systems people use and we know why people use those systems. When people need new functionality, we understand the business needs that drive the requirements. In most organizations, the head of IT is probably one of the most clued in people in the organization by the simple virtue of needing to be in order to do their job. (Jokes about IT being the last to know aside)

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @12:53AM (#37126218) Journal

    I've read most of this thread (119 post already) and without exception, everyone making the case of PC is better than iPad (or visa versa) case is completely missing the point of either and both. These are TOOLS. Arguing over iPad over PC is like arguing that a phillips screwdriver is better than a boxed end wrench. Both are used to turn something (screw, nut) but other than that, they aren't the same tool.

    There is no need for such a pissing contest.

  • by topham (32406) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @12:55AM (#37126236) Homepage

    Pretty much, I've noticed a resurgence of the trend in the last couple of months. But as attempts go this one seemed pretty lame. iPad unstable? really? My mom has one and she doesn't even know how to turn it off or reboot it. She uses it constantly. (Several hours a day on a typical day).

    Now, my iPad is pretty unstable, but it's running beta software all the time. Hardly conclusive. And, even with its instability I don't have to reboot it.

    Most of the statements in the article have some truth to them, but the implications are wildly out of wack. (Implying a stability equivalent to PCs for instance, while PCs have greatly improved in recent years they still often have issues waking from sleep for example.)

    The article is pure FUD in the truest sense. Fear, Uncertainty, Disbelief. While I'd be somewhat hard pressed to accuse the author of directly being in Microsofts pocket, I think it's obvious that Microsoft had a influence in some manner. (Even if it was just a quiet little request made to an editor for a more 'balanced' perspective).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18, 2011 @01:22AM (#37126362)

    They are both tools, however one is a full toolchest, and the other is an eyelash curler.

  • by White Flame (1074973) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @01:36AM (#37126420)

    How many of those apps were developed on an iPad itself, not on a "normal" computer?

  • by cbope (130292) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @03:18AM (#37126806)

    I didn't read TFA, that would be blasphemy, but as a long-time PC advocate and a more recent iPad user, I do agree with a lot of the comments here. The iPad is a relatively good tool for consumption and as an organizing aid. It's great to take to meetings and have access to my calendar and contacts and it's reasonably ok to take notes on. For light email use it's ok, but the mail client is missing a LOT of features compared to a full-featured mail client like Outlook, Thunderbird or Evolution.

    For any real creation work it becomes tedious very quickly. Also, if text entry requires anything more than the normal A-Z, it is EXTREMELY tedious, especially if you need to enter special characters. Just entering the paragraph end tag requires an ungodly number of taps and finger dancing (it's 10, I just checked). The available special characters are also quite limited, for example there is no degree symbol.

    Given a choice between a normal laptop and the iPad, if I was forced to take one over the other, it would be a laptop. But used in combination with a laptop the iPad is a useful tool for some tasks.

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