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Analysts disagree on future of iPad in big business

The analysts are divided on the Apple iPad's place in the enterprise

If Apple Inc. ‘s new iPad is going to make its way into large businesses, IT managers will need to evaluate it themselves, because tech analysts are split on the idea.

Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., said in a blog post that the iPad will most likely enter the enterprise through the consumer door — just as the iPhone did. “Make no mistake, this is an attractive business tool,” he wrote. “Laptops will be left at home.”

But Gartner Inc.’s Phillip Redman and Analysys Mason’s Steve Hilton both disagreed. In separate e-mail comments, the analysts said that the iPad doesn’t fit into corporate America at all.

“Not enterprise material,” Hilton wrote, noting that the iPad lacks common office productivity tools, uses a custom chip set and lasts only 10 hours on battery power when Wi-Fi isn’t running.

But Schadler noted that 20 per cent of companies already support iPhones, and the iPad is “just a big iPhone to them.” He predicted that road warriors will like the iPad’s support for messaging, collaboration, a full Web experience (with a 9.7-in. screen), regular-size documents and business media such as The New York Times . “This thing will take off among high-net-worth mobile pros,” Schadler contended.