It appears that the business community has very quickly seen the potential the iPad and other tablet PCs have for bringing mobility to business applications. From inventory visibility to mobile POS, the iPad has the promise to bring mobile efficiency and excitement to a host of business transactions.
InformationWeek did a great write up on some of the companies who are using the iPad in business applications. For example, Mercedes-Benz Financial ran a test that gave iPads to their sales consultants to access the Mercedes web-base loan site. The mobility allowed Mercedes to keep customers on the sales floor while bringing the loan transaction to them. The pilot was successful enough for Mercedes to decide to roll it out to all of their 355 U.S. dealerships.
InformationWeek points out that there are a few things that are making the iPad a compelling new business tool. First, the 3G option allows users to go beyond WiFi to conduct transactions. Other applications such as finger-based signature capture apps are also making it easier to complete transactions. But one of the things we found interesting (no surprise) was the mention of the difficulty in printing. Apple has stopped short of devoting effort to the iPad’s print capabilities. Anticipating this trend, Zebra recently announced the iPhone/iPad pint SDK which will allow ISVs to create print applications that can print to Zebra printers.
InformationWeek points out that the business community did not anticipate the uses for the iPhone and were left “flat-footed” The iPad holds even more potential.