Apple's iPad 2 provokes IT anxiety

User adoption of consumer-focused tablets for the workplace is 'tyranny,' one IT exec says

As exciting as the new iPad 2 is bound to be for both consumers and business users, some IT executives who will have to support the second-generation Apple tablet are already cringing.

The iPad 2, set to be available on March 11, is faster, thinner and lighter than its predecessor tablet and includes two cameras for video. These and other new features and apps will likely lure many business users to try out the new device, several IT managers said.

Therefore, it's inevitable that large IT shops will have to spend significant time and expense supporting them, the IT managers said.

Unfortunately for those IT executives, Apple and its CEO, Steve Jobs, didn't talk about such business concerns at the unveiling of the iPad 2 and iOS4.3 on Wednesday, analysts noted.

Generally speaking, the massive numbers of workers who are using consumer-focused products like tablets and smartphones for business tasks are already forcing their will on IT shops and the corporations they serve, some IT executives said this week.

"I have coined this 'the tyranny of consumerization,'" said Dave Codack, vice president of employee technology and network services at TD Bank Financial Group in Toronto. His group supports some 81,000 workers at the financial services firm.

Codack said his organization is currently testing the original iPad device along with Apple's iPhone smartphone for various company-related uses, and it plans to test the iPad 2 and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet from Research In Motion that's slated to ship soon.

Codack is not a Luddite, not even close, and says his IT staffers "seem to be excited" about the new dual-camera feature, dual processor, improved graphics and lighter weight of the iPad 2. "I believe this translates into additional perceived benefit for end users," he said.

But Codack quickly added that "frankly, the newer technology is making these devices more consumer-oriented. With employees using these devices in their day-to-day lives, it's inevitable they will expect enterprise support to eventually bridge these two worlds, which will put pressure on the internal technology organization to step up."

He said he called the process a form of tyranny because "the enterprise is not dictating technology with these devices; the revolt is coming from the end-user community."

Codack's point of view about consumer devices becoming workplace tools is not at all new but has been aggravated by Apple's iPad 2 announcement, some analysts noted. Apple had made a fairly big push to show enterprise friendliness in the iOS mobile software it unveiled last year, adding support for third-party VPNs used by corporations and other improvements.

IDG Enterprise's John Gallant talks with Computerworld News Editor Ken Mingis about the new iPad 2, the new features, whether it surpasses competitors, and what enterprises can expect.

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