Citrix CEO Mark Templeton has added to the debate around the iPad, saying it will have a very different use profile to laptops.
Citrix has more than a passing interest in the debate because its technology delivers Windows applications to a variety of devices. Smartphones and tablet computers like the iPad are a growing part of that mix and Citrix is ready for this trend, having already launched a Receiver app which makes a company’s business software accessible from the iPad.
“We’re going into an era where consumption of content is going to be actually more important than the creation of it,” says Templeton. “The iPad is fundamentally for consuming content, not creating it. There’s an explosion in the number and types of devices that you can use to snack and dine on information that other people have prepared.”
“The iPad is really designed for playback of photos, video, music and even enterprise applications with our software on it, making it very easy to consume,” he adds. “When you can snack and dine on information, you can work in places you never dreamed you could work before.”
Although Citrix is closely tied to Microsoft as a technology partner, that relationship shouldn’t be mistaken for bias: given a choice between lugging a heavier laptop onto a plane, Templeton says he would now opt for an iPad. “It’s giving new capabilities for working,” he says.
However, he stops well short of suggesting the iPad will dominate all other forms of computing. While Apple boss Steve Jobs recently suggested that Windows’ popularity is declining, Templeton reckons it’s too early to call. He believes Microsoft is likely to keep the lion’s share of the market in systems that create content, like Word documents or spreadsheets.
When the iPad was announced earlier this year, Forrester analyst Ted Schadler was quick to see the possibilities for running enterprise applications.
Citrix iPad app
Citrix Receiver, one of two iPad apps the company has launched, lets organisations plug into all of their enterprise applications running in their data centre.
Templeton gives the example of a cardiologist visiting a patient in hospital, accessing the results of an angiogram from an offsite data centre (Texas, in our demo) in real time over a wireless connection to the internet.
The consultant could then display a 3D colour image of the heart on the iPad screen. In Templeton’s demo, the consultant can easily rotate the picture to show the patient what procedure might be needed, such as the insertion of a stent or the route of a bypass operation.
It is very likely that Apple will not be releasing the iPad for sale in Ireland by the end of July, with a more likely date of some time in September or even October, says a source close to the situation.