I had the chance to make the short trip up to San Francisco last week for the RSA Conference. I had some terrific meetings lined up, and also had some downtime scheduled in between a few of them. Being the “exemplary” 21st century executive that I always strive to be, I figured I could catch up on email, edit a number of documents and otherwise stay connected to help keep the fires burning back at the office during my breaks.
A funny thing happened as I was packing my work bag for the first day of the show. While I’ve been glued to my iPad as the “don’t leave home without it” device for the past year, I suddenly felt the urge to leave it behind this time around. Maybe it was having the foresight of the type of work I needed to tackle that day. After all, it certainly required some heavy lifting. Regardless, I felt myself grabbing for my shiny new MacBook Air, thinking to myself, this really is the one and only device I need to get the job done right today.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my iPad and it has certainly been a great companion device for keeping up on email, reading books and even keeping my child entertained while we’re on the road. The very notion of the iPad is certainly an intriguing one with its brilliant touch screen and countless apps, and I know many would say it works just fine as a productivity device. However, I think at this point I beg to differ and my experience at RSA helped to cement my thinking.
When it comes to getting the important tasks done, I want my keyboard, my processing power and a nice screen. I also want seamless access to my work environment whether online or offline, and the iPad has never been great from that standpoint. That said, I do still want it all on a single device that also contains my itunes and photos.
So what’s the point? The MacBook Air is about the same size as the iPad. It fit right into my work bag and provides the same functionality, plus a whole lot more (there’s something comforting about still having access to Safari and iTunes when the work is done). It’s just as cool, sleek and sophisticated – and it’s a tremendous device for leveraging all the benefits desktop virtualization has to offer. I used MokaFive to work on my corporate desktop at RSA (without worrying about getting the wireless password at each cafe), and I was about as productive at the conference as I am back at the office, barring a few waiters and old friends popping in to help to break my stride on occasion. They were all welcomed interruptions, of course.
We’ve heard so much about enabling the iPad in the workplace recently, but why struggle to support it when the notion of providing employees with a MacBook Air and virtualizing the corporate desktop on such a killer device is one that can and should easily win the day? From my vantage point, we can leave the touch screen and apps for the family outings, and instead consider making the move to what I think just might be the device of our day for creating a happier, more productive workforce.
Bottom line – if you have Apple-hungry employees, lighten the load and try putting a MacBook Air in their hands and virtualizing their corporate desktop, and I think you’ll quickly see what I mean.
Purnima Padmanabhan, VP of Products & Marketing