By Jim Bowley
The use of mobile solutions – and more specifically tablets – is growing exponentially, so much so that eMarketer predicts that almost 55 million Americans will be tablet users by the end of 2012. This represents a growth rate of more than 60% from usage in 2011. Not surprisingly, much of that growth has and will be dominated by Apple. The iPad is both a pleasure to use in general, but has also inarguably changed how people use the Internet to access, perceive and experience content in an engaging way.
This engagement comes in part from the tactile, hands-on, physical connection that the act of touching the tablet brings to the experience. In his April 2012 article in the Harvard Business Review considering the leadership lessons people have taken from his best-selling biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson quotes Jobs as demanding the prioritization of the tactile even before the device is turned on: “When you open the box of an iPhone or iPad, we want that tactile experience to set the tone for how you perceive the product.”
Hands-on, tactile, engaging experiences have changed how people are entertained and they are now also impacting how people work. According to a survey conducted by ChangeWave Research, the winner will be (not surprisingly) Apple. Of the 22% of organizations who indicated they will buy tablets for employees in the second quarter of 2012, a dominant 84% indicated they will purchase iPads (Samsung and Amazon are, respectively, a distant second and third, with both showing decreases from previous surveys).
This change is fully underway. Bloomberg Businessweek covered the most recent iPad release in an article titled “iPad: The PC Killer”, stating that, “If you consider an iPad a PC substitute—and many consumers certainly do—then Apple, which also produces the iMac and MacBook, is now the biggest PC maker in the world.”
But adoption is only part of the story. The way in which consumers use software applications will continue to change. In corporate settings, web applications cannot simply be shifted as-is, but should be redesigned and re-imagined for the iPad (as we’ve done with our Mobile Talent Management suite of applications) – not only because it’s trendy to talk about mobile applications, but because it’s a business necessity built on growing business demand.
If Isaacson’s quote about the iPad experience beginning at the moment you open the box seems like opening Pandora’s box, that’s not likely coincidental given Jobs’ own careful management of his image. For software providers, this will lead to great opportunities for companies that take advantage of this disruptive shift to design new apps to meet growing demand. This “tactile” change has already occurred in people’s personal lives; now it’s time for the change to happen where they work