Saturday, July 24, 2010

iPad: Two Things Needed For School And Business

The iPad is being pushed for the education market. Personally, I think things would have gone much better for me at school if I had the iPad waaaay back then. But there are two things I think would help the iPad really take off for school.

Printing and Microsoft Office.

First, I like to see the ability to print from the iPad. I've got Pages and other apps that I can easily use to hack out papers, diagrams, and spreadsheets. But I've got no way to print from it directly. In an increasingly paperless world, I suppose e-mailing docs or essays is easier than printing if you want to hand in your homework. However, not every teacher or professor have embraced the digital or mobile revolution.

Steve Jobs has said that the ability to print from the iPad is coming, in passing. Apparently, someone e-mailed Steve about it and he wrote back "it will come". Well, I hope it is sooner rather than later. HP will be introducing WebOS slates along with WebOS enabled printers this fall. Apple will need to move fast.

Furthermore, imagine sales guys visiting clients who need to print out docs on their iPads.

Second, Microsoft Office. Microsoft cannot ignore the iOS market much longer. I'm money is on Microsoft releasing Office for iOS. Of course, someone could easily have e-mailed Steve Balmer about get the same "it will come" response. The reason Office is important, not just to Microsoft, but also the iPad is because a lot of institutions use Office still.

Oh, and let's not forget that more than 90% of the market uses Office. But zero percentage uses it on mobile devices and tablets. Microsoft with the mobile market slipping away can have some kind of a foothold in the smartphone and tablet market if it releases an iOS version of Office. For Redmond, it is better than nothing.

Right now, Pages and Numbers sit at the top of the App Store sales chart and productivity app, Documents To Go from Dataviz is carving quite a nice niche in the mobile market and not just iOS devices.

Printing and Microsoft Office. This will further enrich the mobile experience and extend Apple's reach in education and enterprise. The only reason Microsoft may not release Office for iOS is because it may fear that people will then have no reason to buy Windows laptops. Already, iPad is killing off the netbook market and it could potentially be cannibalizing the PC market.

Of the two topics I mentioned, I like to see printing happen first.

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