Much has been said about Apple's forthcoming tablet device the iPad and where it will fit into our digital lives.
Some say it's nothing more than an iPod touch that's spent too long in the gym, and others have suggested it will be the computing device your mum would buy. What everyone seems to agree on is that the iPad won't have too many practical business users, because of its proprietary operating system and Apple's insistence on locking every aspect of their hardware and software into company-sanctioned models
Chris Fleck from virtualisation specialist Citrix thinks otherwise. "No doubt you have heard about the iPad by now and you may be already pondering whether or not you will be buying one," he said in a community blog post recently. "Chances are you have a laptop or PC and a Smartphone already so you need to rationalise how you will use it beyond e-books and browsing. Well if your company has XenDesktop or XenApp you will be happy to know you will be able to use your iPad for real work as well."
Chris reckons it will soon be possible to use the iPad as a thin client virtual computer using a server-based install of Windows 7. The company already offers a version of its Citrix Receiver software for the iPhone, but the software is severely limited by the small screen and keyboard sizes.
"It turns out the 9.7 inch display on the iPad with a 1024x768 screen resolution works great for a full VDI XenDesktop."
Coincidentally, this type of virtualisation will also overcome one of the iPad's biggest shortcomings, its inability to multitask. "Windows applications run unmodified and securely in the data centre, and even multiple applications at once," says Chris. "The advancements that were made for the Citrix Receiver for iPhone will carry over to the iPad, however the iPhone restrictions of screen size and small keyboards are overcome with the iPad. It's a beautiful thing!
"The iPad looks to be an ideal end point device that can empower users to be productive wherever they are and IT will be able to safely deliver company-hosted virtual desktops and apps without worry."
Maybe the iPad has a place in the big bad world of business after all.