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iPad 2: No Matter What Jobs Says, It's Still Not Great For Business

Apple's (APPL) iPad 2 announcement today -- the device itself will go on sale March 11, as expected -- highlighted how great the devices have been for businesses. As my BNET colleague Erik Sherman wrote, Apple is really gunning for enterprise customers. However, there are four major issues for business the iPad 2 doesn't resolve.

Keeping things sanitary
Apple showed a sweet video of doctors using the iPad, but the touchscreen does not create the most sanitary environment. Last year the New York Daily News tested the iPads in four Apple Stores and reported on the findings:

Of four iPads that were swabbed in two stores last month and then tested in a lab, two contained harmful pathogens... One sample, collected at the 14th St. store, contained Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of staph infections, which can lead to an array of ailments, from minor skin infection to meningitis.


All touchscreen-based tablets are probably just as guilty, but Apple is the only manufacturer showing how the iPad will revolutionize health.

Traditional software isn't in app form
There are 65,000 iPad apps, but businesses are still dependent on companies deciding to transfer their favorite computer program to the iPad. Microsoft (MSFT) Windows tablets and other devices have their limitations, but the difference is that they offer a true mobile computer. At its worst, the iPad 2 is still a gigantic iPod Touch.

Even if your business' favorite software is translated to the iPad 2, it still requires buying the application a second time. For a large business, it means outfitting employees with iPad 2s and purchasing the software again for each of them.

Still no Flash -- or equivalent
Apple's beef with Adobe (ADBE) stopped the original iPad from launching with support for Flash-based video and animation, and Steve Jobs -- who looked in fine health today -- didn't say anything about reconciling at today's iPad 2 announcement.

It may seem like old news, but the problem is that businesses are still dependent on the popular web software. So not only will their most important business apps not run on the iPad, business owners also have to find replacements for their Flash-based software, too. Some companies have already adapted to the iPad environment, but as more versatile tablets like the Motorola (M) Xoom come into the picture, the limitations of the iPad line will become more apparent.

No USB port
Despite rumors, the iPad 2 will not have a USB port. We are becoming more cloud-dependent, using online software like Dropbox to access files remotely, but many are still in the habit of using memory sticks to transfer their data.

One interesting example is how the average high-tech company at the Game Developers Conference, which happened simultaneously with the Apple iPad 2 announcement, gave out their information on memory sticks instead of a web link. Apple should be commended for pushing us into the cloud, but the average business might not be ready to surf yet.


Photo courtesy of apple
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