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Gartner backs iPad for enterprise

IT analysis outfit Gartner has released an extraordinary report which urges businesses to embrace Apple's iPad or miss out.

The report says that the touch-screen gadget is likely to "disrupt existing technology use profiles and business models" and that any business which fails to seriously investigate the potential of the device should think again.

“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 Gartner VP Stephen Prentice. “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.”

The number-crunching outfit reckons close to 20 million tablet PCs will be sold by the end of the year, and as it's currently estimated that Apple holds 95 per cent of the entire market, that's an awful lot of iPads out there.

And with so many people buying the device with their own money, businesses which don't offer some level of iPad support are missing out.

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

Gartner says the popularity and usefulness of the iPad have caught a large number of businesses on the hop with most assuming that the device would be a niche product for a limited market.

“While there are no certainties, the iPad looks set to become a market-disrupting device, like the iPod before it,” said 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."