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Why the iPad Might Find a Place in Your Office

Apple's iPad was designed as a consumer device -- and one mainly to consume information at that. There's no keyboard, poor compatibility with intranets, no deployment or security model to speak of. And yet, indications are that it's making its way into the enterprise.

Gigaom's AppleBlog is reporting that Forrester Research has published a report on iPads, and it looks like the enterprise is embracing them with gusto.

Where iPads are finding their way into business, it appears to be happening from the top, not the bottom; IT managers don't want to get caught short with an important new technology, so they're trying iPad pilot projects early. Forrester finds that iPads are having an impact in three ways:

Replacing laptops. They are lighter and more portable. Forrester uses the term "intimate." That said, a lack of Office and mouse support, plus the lack of meaningful storage, are key limitations.

Replacing paper. Some industries that relied on employees carrying stacks of forms (like the medical industry) derive real, meaningful benefits from tablets like the iPad. On the other hand, there's an elevated risk of damage and theft.

New applications. The iPad is paving entirely new inroads in the enterprise. They allow customers to have instant access to information, be more interactive, and provide fast responses to customers in ways previously impossible with other technology.

What's your experience so far? Are you adopting -- or considering adopting -- the iPad? Sound off in the comments. Bonus points if you do it with an iPad.

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