The iPad ecosystem is tightly controlled by Apple.
This is a good thing – it means it is very difficult to break, it also means that it’s difficult to infect with malware.
Apple doesn’t allow 3rd party companies to install software that has access to the lower level parts of the system (for example Adobe Flash isn’t supported). This limits the possibility of the device being compromised or crashing due to bugs in 3rd party software.
If you believe the media reports then we are unlikely to see Flash on the iPad because Steve Job’s doesn’t trust Adobe to get it right. This is a problem for a lot of eLearning content that contains video or Flash animations, but this will rapidly be replaced with HTML 5 technologies as developers try to reach this new audience. Content could also be hosted with 3rd party specialists (YouTube, uStream) who do support the iPhone and iPad.
Yet the device is very powerful. Many powerful applications relevant to modern business are available as web applications, such as our own application. These are ideal for use on an iPad.
The app store contains many powerful native applications and the app store process, loathed by developers, acts as a right of passage for applications that should limit the possibility of badly behaved applications.
All of these things mean the platform should be very easy to manage by IT departments.
What will be interesting is whether or not we will ever see an iPad ‘desktop’. There’s nothing in the system that would preclude it. In fact the iPad can even be plugged into a keyboard.
Users should find it easy to use as well – which should translate into greater adoption of many applications.
Even email can seem complicated to many users, on the iPad it’s easy.