IT Department TabletTablet computers were seen as novelty items when Apple first introduced the iPad, which served as a second or third device for affluent technophiles who wanted a better way to look at expensive consumer items in Conde Nast magazines. Adobe understood the importance of mobile computing very early, for example, but initially saw the tablet as a way for print publishing to reinvent itself.

It turned out to be far more. How tablets have changed the IT department forever is a tale with several beginnings stemming from several economic and technical trends. Tablets had been introduced several times before. Star Trek’s cast used devices back in 1966 that looked a lot like tablet computers and even were called PADDs. But the devices that made it to market before the iPad were bulky and had awkward interfaces. Apple made touch screens elegant. Consumers loved Apple’s touch interfaces and clean uncluttered design. IPhones were suddenly all the rage and Apple’s competitors scrambled to play catch up.

How Tablets Have Changed the IT Department Forever

In 2010 Apple introduced the iPad. It was widely mocked by industry magazines, which totally failed to foresee how tablets would change the IT department. Sales of tablet computers soared exponentially.

Why? They were cheaper than PCs and lighter than laptops, yet powerful enough to play video. And you did not have to sit at a desk to use them. How tablets have changed the IT department? By being adopted in such huge numbers, fueling the “bring your own device” or BYOD computing trend.

Sheer volume is also part of how tablets changed the IT department — in 2011, 75% of all workers were projected to have a mobility component to their jobs, a stunning number. But so is this: tablet sales are projected to jump from 16.1 million in 2010 to 147.2 million in 2015. By then, one in three online consumers will be using a tablet, says Forrester. Forbes predicted that in 2015 mobile app development projects will outnumber native PC projects four to one.

When the story is told of how tablets have changed the IT department, the baseline will perhaps be 2011, when fully 41% of the tablets used in enterprises belonged to the employee who used them. Many made presentations with them, and 67% worked remotely. This telepresence is also how tablets have become so influential and no doubt will continue to do so.

Photo: Leo Reynolds