Gartner to CEOs: Seize the Apple iPad opportunity now

invisibleSHIELD case for iPadThe Apple iPad and its ecosystem are likely to disrupt existing technology use profiles and business models, and CEOs should ensure that its potential is being seriously evaluated inside their organizations, according to a new report from Gartner Inc.

“It is not usually the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple’s iPad is an exception,” said Stephen Prentice, Gartner Fellow and vice president, in the press release. “It is more than just the latest consumer gadget; and CEOs and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs about if they have not already done so.”

Gartner forecasts worldwide media tablet sales to end users to reach 19.5 million units in 2010, driven by sales of the iPad. Media tablets are poised for strong growth with worldwide end user sales projected to total 54.8 million units in 2011, up 181 percent from 2010, and surpass 208 million units in 2014.

Unless there is a self-evident case to the contrary, Gartner recommends that IT organizations should provide at least “concierge”-level iPad support for a limited number of key users, and prepare a budgeted plan for widespread support of the iPad by mid-2011.

“Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them,” said Mr. Prentice. “While some IT departments will say they are a ‘Windows shop’, and Apple does not support the enterprise. Organizations need to recognize that there are soft benefits in a device of this type in the quest to improve recruitment and retention. Technology is not always about productivity.

Gartner also recommends that CEOs ask their marketing and product development teams to present a creative briefing as soon as possible, detailing how iPads could be used by the company and its competitors, because the iPad has the potential to be hugely disruptive to the business models and markets of many enterprises. “We are already seeing announcements about competing devices from other vendors, including RIM, Samsung, HP and Dell, but the iPad is currently well ahead of the pack with the lion’s share of the market,” added Mr. Prentice.

Like the iPhone before it, the iPad is an iconic device that redefines markets. Media “gurus” and forecasters struggled to categorize this device at the time of launch — and some made the mistake of assuming that, like all tablet-format devices before it, it would remain a niche product for a limited market.

According to Gartner analysts, the iPad is not a notebook replacement for most users, but a valuable companion device. As it is much less intrusive in face-to-face environments than conventional notebooks, it is well suited to a sales or information-sharing environment. It also makes electronic media consumption effortless and casual, thereby increasing consumption.

As use of the iPad grows, examples are emerging in industries and professions including consumer applications (such as a personal stock portfolio review), book and magazine publishing, architects and realtors sharing plans in the field, finance specialists sharing quotations with prospects, and salespeople looking to demonstrate interactive presentations. Interest from the healthcare sector is high, but the inability of the device to withstand sanitization or operate inside a sealed pouch is a limitation.

With an undeniable “style” factor and ease of use, as well as various multitouch, display and communications capabilities, the iPad makes a strong statement in many customer-facing sectors, such as retail, hospitality and tourism. In transportation, especially aviation, Australian carrier Jetstar is trialing an iPad rental service for in-flight entertainment, and Malaysia Airlines is using iPads in a kiosk mount as self-service check-in devices.

Gartner advises CEOs to act sooner rather than later.

“While there are no certainties, the iPad looks set to become a market-disrupting device, like the iPod before it,” said Mr. Prentice. “Even if you think it is just a passing fad, the cost of early action is low, while the price of delay may well be extremely high,” said Mr. Prentice.

Further information is available in the report ‘CEO Advisory: Seize the iPad Opportunity Now’ available at

Source: Gartner, Inc.


  1. If these CEOs need to be told to investigate this potentially disruptive product “sooner, rather than later”, these are the CEOs who need to be tossed out of the plane without their Golden Parachutes. And denied their annual bonus obscenity.

  2. @DLMeyer
    Those CEOs are smart enough to write not-my-fault clauses into their contracts… there’s always someone else to blame… So they get their dough no matter what!

    For a bit more cynicism…
    MS anointed IT drones wil fight iPad adoption to the death!

  3. @ DLMeyer,

    CEOs have CIOs to look after information technology. Unless a CEO has bought his own iPad how would he/she know of it’s potential? The IT guy is not going to recommend something that will turn his world upside down. The CIO will listen to the IT guys.

    The CEO must be made aware of disruptive technology and the last thing the IT department wants is disruptive technology.

    Gartner is providing info that CIOs and/or IT departments don’t want the CEO to have. Once again Apple enters enterprise from the top down.

  4. Corporate employees know what is good for them in business and personal regarding technology devices they use everyday. The iPhone changed for the way better how I manage business task as well as personal interest. The iPad has so many uses right now and when version 2 comes out it will be even more useful. Both are IT secured that tons of major corporations are buying them up.
    — Smart companies research and then do it … the rest just follows!!
    …. Buy AAPL stocks!!!!!!!!!!!! period ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  5. “Technology is not always about productivity”

    so is that why there is a whole IT subculture when it comes having to use Windows machine in corporate settings?

    Because windows is so productive, you are guaranteed to have to call/hire an IT person to solve 90% of the issues?

    What a dumb statement. You are right technology is not always productivity, i mean we do not use animals to plow fields because it was costing to much to feed and shelter them.

    ..because the pony express was a great way to see the world.

    ..because railroads were only intended for tourists.

    ..because morse code was so hard to teach,

    ..airplanes are a novelty

    ..the internet is just a fad…

    what a douche. technology = progress, economic progress, environmental progress

  6. @rhetoric.assassin

    A true sophist would ask you: what do you mean by progress? And: does progress require changes in technology or do changes in technology cause progress? Or maybe it is a little more Darwinian than that – a little more emergent?

    @Big Als MBP

    I certainly hope so. It is happening where I work. The resistance from IT has been less coherent and effective than I would have expected. They are as divided within as any clique.

    Any CIO who goes uncritically with what the IT guys are saying should be immolated in the company car park. Pass the matches.

  7. I pretty much agree with the article, except for one odd remark. It says that it can’t operate within a sealed pouch. I have personal ecidence that it does.

    I’ve got a spa bath at home, and I use my iPad to read in the tub. I simply put it inside a Ziplock bag. It works just fine.

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