Apple announced the iPad two years ago and began shipping it in April 2010. In less than two years, the rapidity and scale of the shock to the PC marketplace has been stunning. And it's far from finished: Web apps and tablets will become the dominant computing platform for knowledge workers, and IT should start shifting its strategy to accommodate the change. IT managers used to determine what mobile devices their employees used (and thus invariably chose BlackBerry), but now companies are adopting a "bring your own device" (BYOD) approach to mobile.
IT managers will need to shift to not just accommodating iPads as an additional mobile device, but to a full-fledged BYOD approach for their knowledge workers' client computing. Let them decide if they need a tablet, an ultrabook, or a laptop. IT will need to develop applications first for the Internet and second for tablets, and only develop for traditional PCs for a small slice of back-office production workers.
Knowledge workers will demand the use of tablets first and ultra-thin notebooks like the Macbook Air or ultrabooks second. Companies will accommodate this shift because their employees will be more productive and satisfied, and it will cost the company less, since often the employee supplies his or her own device. As the ability to implement and leverage this BYOD approach improves, today's slow migration will become a massive rush. And the business PC segment for knowledge workers will follow what already is happening in the broader consumer segment.
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