back to article Apple's iPad - the device for execs who create nothing

After the iPad was unveiled in late January, someone inside Apple quietly contacted the San Diego-based startup Mellmo to "encourage" the company to port its Roambi app to the keyboard-free device. Clearly, other app makers worked hand-and-hand with Apple prior to the tablet's launch this past weekend. Or at least semi-hand-in- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Douchebags in neckties can look at sales charts on their iPad. Excuse me for not being impressed. What's next? Perhaps a word of the day app to suggest such beauties as: synergy, leverage, stakeholders...

    Grenade is for the boardroom.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      bs bingo app?

      How about a BS bingo app for people who have to attend meetings populated with no content execs?

      It could be networked so the lucky winner receives an emergency (get out of meeting early) message.

      1. Nat C.
        Thumb Up

        @Anonymous Coward 8th April 00:01

        "How about a BS bingo app for people who have to attend meetings populated with no content execs?

        It could be networked so the lucky winner receives an emergency (get out of meeting early) message."

        Hrm... sounds like something the BOFH and PFY would rig up doesn't it? >:-)

        //Thumbs up for BOFH since there's no Steve Jobs with Halo/Satan Horns icon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Nat C.

          Quote? "//Thumbs up for BOFH since there's no Steve Jobs with Halo/Satan Horns icon."

          Eh? Are you blind? Take a look at the last 2 icons on the bottom row!

  2. Annihilator


    "Clearly, other app makers worked hand-and-hand with Apple prior to the tablet's launch this past weekend. Or at least semi-hand-in-hand. "

    You mean "Or at least with semi-in-hand"

  3. Mike Powers

    Great, more "metrics"

    Yet another reason for the upper echelon to whinge that my creative output can't be reduced to a series of hit-or-missed checkboxes. "You can't just say Met Objectives, you need to enumerate a specific number of objectives and declare how many you've met! Otherwise my automatic performance report won't work!"

  4. Watashi


    Maybe Blackberry should bring out a business tablet. They seem to be beating (off) Apple in the business smartphone category at the moment. And I bet they'd let you tether their tablet to their phone.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Been there, suffered that!

      A while back, as a tech exercise (alright, as an excuse to order a few of the original tablet PCs), we did a project to get as many business tools as possible onto the intranet so our execs could have all the information they needed, in pretty pic formats, pie charts and whatever, day or night. Most of our business apps had built-in web interfaces from which we could extract reports and then all we needed to do was build a protal to present them internally. A quick bit of web kludging later and it was done, and we had our excuse to saunter around with our mobile DVD play- I mean, vital network management tablet PCs. The execs could look at the pretty performance graphs on their Macbooks, laptops or whatnots from anywhere on our LAN or remotely, without having to worry about formats, as HTML was/is common and everything else was translated into GIFs. Until the execs asked if we could make a version that looked good on their BladckBerry screens. This was a bit of a nightmare due to the size of the screens, but we even managed that.

      Now, that was more than eight years ago. If there are still execs today stupid enough not to know they can do all the stuff Roambi does with free web tools then they really do deserve to suffer the Apple tax. After all, even the iPad can run a browser! Well, if you stand close enough to the Wi-Fi router and it doesn't do dual-band signals.....

  5. Adrian Esdaile

    So what you're saying is...

    ..that high-paid execs are just a biological motile support frame for a digital display? Thought so.

    Two questions:

    1. Can I have one of those jobs please? I'll wear a suit, and use fancy sentences like "Fiscal policy paradigm change management scenario." I just need a sportscar, superyacht and house in Tuscany. KTHNXBAI

    2. Failing that, can we shoot them and replace them with robots?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No need to go to the trouble of robots

      Cool though that would be.

      A lot of them could be put out of a job with a few well scripted macros...

      1. Paul 4

        well scripted macros?

        A magic 8 ball with a few corperate BS phrases in it would replace half of them.

  6. Jack Prichard

    Fill the missing blank: The emperor has _ cloths

    Peter Jackson, CEO of the San Francisco-based GroundWork, an outfit that offers tools for managing IT infrastructure, concurs. "At my level, I don't really create. I consume."

    Now call me strange, entry level or whatever but does this sound like an exec confirming what many of us have so long suspected; the boss really is paid, vastly more than me, to do nothing!

    Jesus, can't they even pretend to be working?

    The best option would be for execs to need laptops or netbooks because... they actually do work. Failing this could they at least have a laptop because if everybody else dies they can do work, if they have to. If not this then can they have the laptop and pretend to do work?

    If they are not working why can't they just have some paper and crayons?

    From what I have seen the iPad is good for watching youtube, reading books, surfing the net and maybe some light facebook.

    What next comfy chairs and some beers?


    1. mky

      rm *.*

      Whats wrong with a comfy chair?

      I like beer, make mine an IPA!

      Wait why isn't there a comfy chair icon too?

      1. Mark Aggleton

        What's wrong with a comfy chair.

        Obviously you are too young to remember Monty Python

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      no laptop here...

      I work for Orange UK and our esteemed leader, Tom Alexander, is rumoured not to possess a laptop and his office in our grossly over priced London HQ apparently contains a Scalextric set and a pen.

      Although I can't confirm that as I actually work for a living and am not allowed out of my pod for anything but a piss stop...

    3. Gulfie

      The boss is paid...

      ... to look forward and plan the strategic direction of their company; to frame new product opportunities; to look at acquisition opportunities. They (should) know their company and their business space inside out. For the most part that _does_ involve consumption of information. And when an opportunity is identified I'd expect a good exec to delegate and support the detailed investigation and inevitable strategy report to somebody at a lower level, not to spend days of their own time doing keyboard work.

      Does the MD of a large company cut code? Does a developer make high-level strategy decisions? The more one works at the coal face (be it in development or in sales) the less time is available for strategic thinking.

      Unfortunately a significant percentage of execs don't know their company or their business space and so appear as, and frequently are, incompetent, under-informed and only interested in seeing how often they can get onto the golf course in company time. First priority - a fat salary and pension, second priority keeping it whilst doing as little as possible.

      One company I worked for failed spectacularly simply because upper management spent too little time doing stregic planning. The result was that a 70% share of a vertical software market fell to less than 25% inside 18 months.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge

      This has already been pointed out.

    5. Stone Fox

      if you think that's bad...

      I was trying to get a decision out of a company we were planning on doing some business with, so ultimately I rang the IT director.

      After much chasing I finally got him on the phone for him to say "why are you calling me? I'm a director, all I do is play golf, talk to one of my technical managers!"

      I s**t you not, he actually said it. Whether or not he was trying to be funny I don't know and I'm not sure I want to know either.

    6. Eddie Edwards
      Thumb Up

      Stafford Beers!

      Stafford Beer, the UK's father of cybernetics, absolutely recommended that boardroom meetings be held in comfy chairs with a big screen displaying business information in graphical format. Ultimately this was modelled on the "war room" model, but with (for the day) high technology in place of chicks with sticks pushing little model tanks around. A modern-day version of this might well have comfy chairs and iPads.

      His model is based on the fact that managers need to discuss stuff while having relevant facts available - i.e. that management is about communication and decision making. He has a very nice diagram of the various parts of an organization and - guess what? - not everyone is involved in "creating".

      His model also explains why non-managers often think managers per se are a waste of time, but it's a bit like your arms and legs having a pop at your brain because it's not a limb and never does manual stuff like picking up rubbish or walking to the shops.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Bravo Eddie!

        Having read all the bleating about "the Management", that last paragraph was a joy to read.

        And, on the other hand, the bleaters at the coalface might do well to realise that the Brain might well have a problem when the legs tell it that the SLA for walking to the bathroom is the usual 4 working days... ;-)

      2. NogginTheNog
        Thumb Down

        Clarifying that 'brain'

        A good manager is worth his/her weight in gold (or maybe shares?). However a bad one is worth his/her weight is something a lot smellier :-(

        Sadly too many who can't hack it at the coal face end up as 'brains'...

  7. Mr Grumblefish

    So the iPad's perfect for reading in the bath

    with your captain's hat on.

    Who'd've guessed?

  8. Sean Timarco Baggaley


    Most workers are on the front line, dealing with tactics. CEOs and other upper management deal with *strategies*.

    To stretch the WW2 analogy a little, consider the difference between a soldier fighting on the beaches of Normandy with the leaders sitting in a big room watching wooden figures being shoved around a big table by members of the WRAAF in response to information received via radio.

    These iPad apps replace the big table and the radio operators.

    The soldier is dealing with day-to-day problems and tends to see everything as a tactical problem. The back-room general is dealing with strategic issues and tends to see everything in that light.

    It was common to find many ex-military people in management after both WW1 and WW2. The present fad for endless metrics is a result of this: the management culture is designed around crunching lots of complex data to work out the "big picture" of how the business is doing. Their mistake is in assuming *everything* can be boiled down to a computer-friendly set of data.

    Hence most of the posts above.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    But wait, not just...

    ...any old company with a waste of space sitting at the top is good enough for Roambi/Romabi. Oh no, you have to have at least *50* of the good-for-nothing(-but-wasting-perfectly-good-money-on-over-priced-sh*te) idiots within your company before Roambi/Romabi will consider talking to you (or consider drawing a pretty picture for afore mentioned numpties).

    From what I've seen (from my admittedly mere low-level systems support existence) MS Office 07 has some great colouring in options within Excel for making all sorts of pretty pictures and such like.

    When did you last hear a stuffed up Non-Creating-Exec blame "a lack of expensive enough graphics" on last years dive in profits? Right! So what's the answer to this problem that doesn't exist? Oh I see, spending $39,750 on a piece of software that makes multi-coloured line charts. Really, Mr N-C-E? Is that a good idea? I'll give you a moment to consult your App for that...

  10. David Cherry 1
    Jobs Horns

    iPad for IT support

    If it could run Logmein, VNC and a Wifi signal strength detector plus be able to have all the reference manuals I need for repairing out of date printers and laptops, then it might be useful

    1. Nick Collingridge

      Ideal support device

      @David Cherry 1 - Of COURSE it can run Logmein, VNC, have a WiFi signal strength detector and have all of your manuals loaded onto it. At least, as far as the last one is concerned, it will do once they become available electronically which they obviously will soon if not already. You know that the iPhone can do all of those things already (you are an IT expert, I presume, so you SHOULD know that) so the iPad will definitely do them.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        No Wifi detector

        Apple banned them all from the App store a few months back.

  11. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Can it email?

    I do agree that senior execs spend a lot of time reading reports, and on the move, so a device that's light and can display spreadsheets, email and metrics is very useful. However the thing I've noticed whenever I've had contact with senior execs is how many damn emails they spew out. They're always banging away on the keyboard.

    It used to be that senior people had a secretary to do all their typing, but that's not the way it works any longer, and most of them do their own emailing - and lots of it.

    I will be simply amazed if that onscreen keyboard is even vaguely close in speed to a proper one. To be fair I may be biased, as I'm a touch typist and so would be lost if I couldn't keep my fingers on the home keys (not possible on a screen). However I suspect even for the fast 2 and 4 finger brigade, a real keyboard will be much quicker, and how do you hold the thing while you type on it anyway? So I reckon the senior execs of this world won't be dumping their MacBook Airs and Sony VAIOs quite yet.

    The people who may well adopt it would be the road-warriors, where they could keep a laptop for office/home, and use this when out and about. For them always-on is a huge advantage, as they can just whip it out in meetings, bring up a PDF of the product datasheet, hop onto webforms, or spreadsheets to do quick example quotes - knock out a quick email and bung it back in the bag and be away. Then when you meet someone unexpected in reception on the way out, you can grab it and chuck their address in and set up a meeting in the diary instantly, without having to wait to boot up, or find a table to rest a laptop on.

    If someone could use that USB camera dock to run a business card scanner this could be awesome at exhibitions as well...

    I want an iPad for sofa-surfing and some light ebook-ery. But once I take it into the office, I'm willing to bet our reps will lust after it instantly. They hate lugging their laptops round, as they all want huge ones for when they're working at a desk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sent from my iPad

      Good god no. Its bad enought when I get half written rubbish from the blackberry or iPhone. This will just encoruage them.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "...just whip it out in meetings..."

      That possibly could have been phrased slightly differently - you owe me a keyboard for the mental image presented!

  12. heyrick Silver badge

    Wow, gotta hand it to them...

    They created a nonsense but lucrative market to milk the clueless. How much per user for how many users? Those in the lower eschelons should keep this sort of thing in mind when their few miserly "perks" are reduced or cancelled "due to the economy".

  13. Nick Collingridge

    You just don't get it...

    Sorry, but you lot of commenters are just plain wrong. You obviously don't like it for some weird reason, but for a large number of people the iPad (or a similar device) will be absolutely exactly what they need to get on with their job.

    You can keep your doorstop full-function laptops if you want, but why do you think that everyone else would want or need one as well? For people who spend most (or even only some) of their time in meetings the iPad is perfect and will be much more suitable than any other device. That's just the way it is.

    Put your prejudice on one side and try thinking for once about how everyone else lives their lives. It really doesn't matter (no, honestly) whether you like the iPad or not - believe me, in a few years there will be hundreds of millions of these devices around; and Apple will have the lion's share of the market simply because they clearly and obviously understand this type of product better than anyone else does. It's not rocket science but no-one else so far gets it...

  14. vincent himpe

    just givbe them an etch-a-sketch

    and use the money you saved to buy something usefull.

  15. Tony Paulazzo

    The Newton II

    >It really doesn't matter (no, honestly) whether you like the iPad or not - believe me, in a few years there will be hundreds of millions of these devices around; and Apple will have the lion's share of the market simply because they clearly and obviously understand this type of product<

    It's a nice pretty picture chart so managers can understand, and shows the perfect iphone (with it's 3 year lead), losing market share to android.

    Apple may lead but better products inevitably follow.

    Mind you, couple of things I like about ipad, instant on, battery life, coffee table looks. Will be interesting to see how that battery lasts on jailbroken version.

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