Apple is legendary in its release of new products. With each new release of an iPod, iPhone, and the latest-the iPad, people rush to buy. Even with the reports of the iPhone dropping calls and not living up to its potential, people still willingly stood in long lines to shell out hundreds of dollars to have the newest Apple gadget. The release of the iPad was no different. But other than being the latest and greatest gadget for the tech enthusiast, does the iPad really have any value beyond just a fun toy?
With the installation of virtualization apps for the Apple iPad, this lightweight Apple tablet really does have potential as a viable tool in many businesses by becoming a portable virtual office. With apps from VMware, Citrix, and Wyse PocketCloud, the iPad can connect to your company's desktop virtualization network and allow you to have complete access to any of your Windows based documents. It will appear and function as if you are running Windows right on your iPad. Executives can quickly access documents for clients, salespeople can use PowerPoint for presentations, and service people can create and modify invoices all away from the office.
Citrix saw the potential for the iPad in the business world even before the release of the iPad. With the anticipation of the iPad release, came the promotion of the Citrix Receiver application. With Citrix Receiver, you can connect to XenDesktop and XenApp networks with your iPad's WiFi or 3G internet connection. The connection is secure and with it you can open, view, make changes to, and even create new Word, Excel, or other Windows based documents located on your office thin client. This app is reported to work well with documents with lots of graphics. With the addition of GoToMeeting, you can also join or host meetings online with your iPad.
Next in line to release a virtual office app for iPad was Wyse. Wyse's PocketCloud app allows users to access Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocols or VNC. VNC and Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocols are commonly used to allow access to a desktop computer or server remotely. PocketCloud can also access a thin client or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) through VMware View software. PocketCloud has shown to be a bit more versatile then Citrix's Receiver with its ability to work on the Android smartphones as well.
VMware announced and showed off its virtualization iPad app at its 2010 Copenhagen conference. With a release date not set until 2011, VMware's iPad app has yet to draw the same attention as the Receiver or PocketCloud. Some who have had the opportunity to test the app have given positive reviews for its ease of use.
Although it may seem that the iPad and any future tablets are more of a cool toy right now, the development of these virtualization technology apps shows it has serious potential as a business device. The iPad is much more portable than a standard laptop but easier to use for documents than a smartphone. If you don't need a full-fledge keyboard and mouse while on the go, buying the iPad and using virtual desktop apps can make good business sense.