March 21, 2012, 7:06 AM — Apple's new iPad arrived Friday and will almost certainly start showing up in the workplace this week. While this month's buzz has been mainly focused on Apple's new tablet, its release was just one of several moves the company has made in the last two weeks. Consider that before the iPad even hit store shelves, Apple had pushed out iOS 5.1; unveiled an updated version of the iWork suite; rolled out a slick iOS version of iPhoto; and released the new Apple Configurator tool for managing various iOS devices in various business and education settings.
With the iPad now the de facto tablet for business and the iPhone increasingly being seen as the business choice in a post-BlackBerry world, these new offerings from Apple will affect companies of all shapes and sizes.
Here's a look at some of the cross-currents likely to play out for IT shops as new iPads show up in the hands of workers.
Business advantages of the new iPad
The new iPad's features and specs are arguably more in line with consumer use than business. The retina display and graphics performance are notable improvements, but their biggest impact will be on uses like video and gaming.
That isn't to say that business users won't see benefits. Reduced eye strain, greater readability of text and an overall improvement in graphics capabilities will benefit every iPad user in some way. But they don't offer direct business or productivity gains compared to the previous generation of iPads -- except for a handful of professionals, including those in creative, design and other media jobs. The improved graphics and video capabilities may make the iPad more suited to on-the-go media work. That very point -- that the iPad is indeed useful for content creation -- was highlighted at last week's iPad unveiling.
The improved graphics capabilities may also bolster the use of iPads in healthcare. Although the new model's display can't yet compete with top-end radiology and medical imaging workstations, the higher resolution -- 2048 by 1536 pixels -- may make it even more attractive to the industry. Though the resolution may be lower than a dedicated workstation, it's still more advanced than any other tablet on the market and higher than that of most notebooks, PC or Mac.