Wall Street giant JP Morgan Chase is giving each of its investment bankers an Apple iPad to use in the workplace, a sign that big business sees the tablet computer as more than just a consumer device. The Financial Times has already given its staff $480 subsidies to buy themselves iPads (or another tablet), and venture capitalists are big fans of the device, too. Is an iPad really much use in the workplace? (See the way one company is using iPads)

It is no match for a laptop: Unfortunately, there are "too many" things the iPad cannot do, says Gordon Haff at CNET. For example, I couldn't take part in an "unexpectedly scheduled" webcast because the tablet wouldn't run the required Java plug-in. "In a business setting, you're working against the expectation that you have a laptop handy" — with just an iPad, you'll get left behind.
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Specialized apps can make it a business user's dream: The iPad "isn't very business friendly" on its own, says Jeffrey L. Wilson at PC Magazine, but applications to "meet nearly every business need" are "just a download away." Apps can "duplicate the functionality of many traditional desktop applications," and some tablet-specific apps even allow "cloud-based note and task management" and file synchronization. It's a "capable productivity device."
"Best Apple iPad business apps"

The iPad's flexibility could make it the next big thing: The iPad's big advantage is that it is "easily programmable," says Dan Frommer at Business Insider. So, for example, retail and dining establishments can quite easily use it to create their own point-of-sale system. Right now, it's "more of a luxury use case," but as the tablets become more commonplace, we can see it being "a useful device for the corporate world." Blackberry maker RIM and Microsoft better catch up quick.
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