iPad as a Thin Client PC for personal or corporate use (via VNC or Citrix GoToMyPC)

I have my own gripes about the iPad launched today – lack of multitasking, front-facing camera, HD video, open APIs for USB/Bluetooth, etc – that would prevent it from being used as an alternate light-weight PC replacement. But I do think in typical Apple style, they would roll out some of these features in future revisions in the coming years.

But in a corporate environment (or personal use for techies), iPad could turn out to be a flexible Thin Client PC if there are good apps for the use case. There are already many VNC clients for iPhone which would probably get updated to iPad promptly. But an app that targets the corporate user with a virtualized desktop & storage on the server – intranet or public cloud – would make the iPad a really useful tool. It already has email, calendar, word, excel, powerpoint and can even support connection to projectors (with the awkward VGA connector). A well-integrated VNC or Citrix GoToMyPC app for the few custom corporate applications could nicely serve the corporate user. Webex already works for the iPhone and if the full features are supported for the iPad it could take care of meetings.

Now if only Apple could give me a nice iChat on iPad with front-camera – Jan 2011??

Update Feb 3, 2010:  Citrix and others are coming out with announcements related to this usemodel for iPhone and potentially for iPad. See this LinuxDevices.com article.


Comparing my “iPad” predictions from Oct 2008… Not bad.

Not bad… 10 out of 14 of my predictions from Oct 2008 turned out to be true today (Jan 2010) – especially the price point.

But my big mis-prediction was that I expected this product from Apple in 2008/2009. They are a year late.

14 Predictions for Oct 14 launch of Apple “notebook”

Here are my predictions for the Apple Oct 14 Launch. Lets see how much of it is correct.

  1. Tablet-PC style Notebook PC called iBook
  2. About 9-12inch Touchscreen.Same Touch UI as iPhone
  3. Only Soft Keyboard or bluetooth keyboard. No Mouse – only fingers or stylus or bluetooth keyboard
  4. Hand writing recognition
  5. Atom Processor with MacOS X of course
  6. $500 to $800 price
  7. No HDD. Only Flash drive
  8. Includes iSight camera
  9. Bluetooth support like Macbook
  10. Includes WiFi and atleast one 3G support (AT&T 3G or WiMax)
  11. Includes iTunes
  12. AppStore extended to include Apps for new iBook
  13. USB, DVI/HDMI Ports
  14. No CD/DVD drives

On Apple Business Strategy… How to increase profit by 20%

I have a simple suggestion to increase Apple (AAPL)’s bottom line by about 20% or $ 1.5 Billion of increased profit on top of their current $ 6 Billion earnings:

Open bundling of Mac OS X with Dell, HP, Acer & Lenovo… Imagine a “Dell Mac” !!

Here is a summary of how Apple might be able to get the 20% increase in Earnings:

  • Global PC unit shipments from top 4 PC vendors (Dell, HP, Acer, Lenovo) is about 120 Million
  • Macs could easily become 10 percent of these PC shipments if the above strategy is followed.
  • Mac OS X price is $129. Apple wont need to lower this price even for these vendors & the gross margin on OS X sales will be more than 95%.
  • Any Mac OS X sales via these PC vendors will be direct profit to Apple.
  • Current Apple Profit = $ 6 Billion
  • Additional Apple Profit = $129 x 12 Million units = $ 1.5 Billion

20% increase in Apple’s profit and any related increase in AAPL stock price seems like a small issue… And it is !

But the bigger impact would be the penetration of Mac in the computer world. This will lead to pull-thru sales of more Apple gear – including Macs and other miscellaneous products. Of course, there might also be a small cannibalization of Mac hardware sales. As shown by the success of iPhone over other much better phone hardware from Nokia, LG, etc, Apple’s prowess is in their software portfolio. This strategy of opening up Mac OS X to be bundled with other PCs can leverage this and make a significant impact in the computer world – 30 years after Macs first made their big impact.

Now would be a good time to open up the bundling of Mac OS X to other PCs because:

  • Microsoft Windows is in its weakest spot in a decade with Vista. Many people would be happy to run Mac OS X with Windows XP via VMWare or Parallels.
  • With a slowing US economy (biggest Mac market), Apple is going to find it difficult to increase revenues – much less profit.
  • With the success of iPods, iPhones, Apple is no longer solely dependent on Macs for their business. So, keeping OS X tightly bundled with Apple hardware is less of a strategic concern for Apple.

Most importantly, I would be able to buy a cheaper “Dell Mac” 🙂