iPad mini in the workplace, does 7 inches really work, and does size really matter anyway?



The speculation about the iPad mini has moved from the usual optomistic rumours to “fact””. Allegations have been made that Apple is “leaking”the news to leading newspapers in order to rain on Google’s Nexus 7 parade. If they are making that kind of effort, maybe Nexus is worth looking at.

Android Tablets

The Nexus 7 has been described as a “game changer””. It has been described as being “far ahead”of existing android tablets with it’s high quality hardware and relatively inexpensive price. It is also the only tablet so far to ship with “Jelly Bean”, or Android 4.1.

In the last quarter of 2011, Android tablet shipments reached 39.1%, with iPad accounting for 58% of the market. Interestingly of the Android tablet sales, 40% of these were Amazon Fire or the Nook, which are eReaders. These devices use the 7 inch form factor and show that there is substantial consumer demand for the form factor.

Will we see 7 inches in the enterprise?

The Samsung Q1 UMPC, released in 2006 was a 7 inch tablet designed for enterprise use. It ran Windows XP and used a stylus and buttons for cursor manipulation. Like it’s competiors and successors, the lack of tablet based applications prevented widespread adoption. Interestingly though it’s portability and battery life made it popular with field workers.

Perhaps this will be the case for the Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini.

According to an article in CIO Magazine, Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit and an iOS developer, says Not only will the iPad mini have a smaller, eye-straining screen, It probably won’t have a Retina display, either.”

Wiens, though, believes that the iPad mini will be used extensively in the field by service technicians, where mobility trumps everything else. Such employees don’t have much use for fancy Retina displays.

“With service manuals, you need to see pictures to do repairs, which makes the iPad much more usable than the iPhone,” Wiens says. “Yet you might be in tight places, so something in between would be reasonable.”

In the same article Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi says that a small tablet probably won’t have much of an impact on the enterprise. Milanesi covers the tablet market at Gartner and is very familiar with small tablets such as the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, which she says are too small to get much work done.

Milanesi says a 7-inch Apple tablet, along with a cheap price point, will resonate with consumers, which somewhat undermines her anti-enterprise adoption argument. The thinking goes: If an iPad mini is a consumer hit, then it will likely ride BYOD to the enterprise anyway.

iPad software won’t work at 7 inches

There are fears that scaled down iPad applications wont work well with the new form factor. This is unlikely, considering the efforts developers already go to support multiple form factors on other platforms.

Useful productivity applications have been made to work on smartphones, so enterprise applications that use the new form factor (rather than just scaling down 10 inch) will adapt the new form factor.

For those that believe you can’t fit enough text on this screen, keep in mind that this form factor is already the leading size for eReaders.

The future is bright for the 7 inch form factor. Its affordabilty and ubitquity in the consumer market will mean it’s adoption into enterprise is inevitable. The software applications that win will be those that take advantage of this “mid” screen size.












Send in the Drones – Using your flying robot more productively in business


The increasing use of drones by the military has led to increased interest in remote controlled AV’s. 

The AR Drone in your Smartphone

The amazing Parrot AR drone allows a smartphone user to easily control a remote controlled flying camera using a smartphone.  It’s easy to setup and easy to fly.

It’s worth seeing the CES video if you haven’t already:


It seems that the accessibility of a drone of this quality and ease to consumers will lead to use in the private sector.  

The River of Blood

In a January 2012 news article an AV Drone Enthusiast discovered a “River of Blood” using a drone. He was using the drone to survey the course of a local river when he photographed an environmental hazard.

The applications here for law enforcement and of course the media are obvious.  Where else might this be applicable?

Drones for the Enterprise

For the past decade the ability access previously inaccessible underground places using “pipe cameras” has meant more accurate assessment of infrastructure.  These range from simple fibre optics to remote controlled drones.

Now the use of flying drones will mean accessibility to inaccessible places that would have required helicopters or similar.

For inspection and maintenance, the assistance of a flying “friend” may soon be essential.   Because outside areas, roofs, ceiling cavities, yards with vicious dogs and other previously hard to get at places are now quickly accessible, it inspections will be quicker and more effective. 

The use of mobile devices such as iPad to control the drone and record the video delivers many advantages.  These include integration to enterprise applications for logging and analysis.   

The size, shape and manuverability of drones will vary.  The “Hummingbird” surveillance drone for example looks and behaves like a bird in the air.


The drone, built by AeroVironment with funding from DARPA, is able to fly forwards, backwards, and sideways, as well as rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. Not only does the ‘bot resemble its avian inspiration in size (it’s only slightly larger than a hummingbird, with a 6.5-inch wingspan and a weight of 19 grams), it also looks impressively like a hummingbird in flight.

The limited battery life of the current generation of commercial drones limit the use of the devices now, but as the technology improves I think we can expect our skies to be filled with all kinds of flying robots.  Perhaps you’ll be using one soon.


The Grablet


The “Grablet” allows an iPad  to be held in one hand and used with the other.

The “X Shaped” mount has appropriate holes for the iPad 2’s cameras and ports.  It has a number of strap configurations available, allowing for various “mounts” of the device.

It’s particularly useful for mobile workers as it can be used as a “mit” (handy for fending off angry dogs) or slung from a wall or seat.

The Grablet is not intended to be a case and is only a mount.

Find out more here.


Tuaw – Grablet Review – http://www.tuaw.com/2011/11/22/the-grablet-a-comfortable-and-versatile-ipad-accessory/

iLounge Grablet Review – http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/grablet-the-grablet-for-ipad-2/

Grablet Strap Instructions – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cOHcfuoVw_w

Grablet Website – http://www.thegrablet.com/

Buy Grablet on Amazon

Swivl, the mobile cameraman



Max the health inspector tours the kitchen, pointing out the water damage on the plaster in each corner of the room.  He then points out the water damage on the floor.  As he does this, the camera smoothly follows him.

Max doesn’t need a cameraman to do this for him.  He uses “Swivl”, the automated cameraman.

Swivl is a small robot that can take your iPhone and film you doing various activities.  It seems ideal for creating evidence videos.

It uses a tiny hand-held remote to track the person being filmed.  This control also has buttons for handling tilt.

This is another example of how commonplace “drone” technology will be.  Real-world automated assistants who will assist in recording and surveillance.

Swivl has just been announced at CES 2012.  There is much excitement about the product among vloggers and sportspeople. It was formerly known as the Star accessory and was crowdfunded into existence on IndieGoGo by Satarii and users in early 2011.

They are preording now (costs around $159), so take a look at http://swivl.com.


The Verge – Swivl Hands On – http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/20/2647710/swivl-hands-on

Swivl – http://swivl.com

Flying Drones – http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2012/1/2/military-and-consumer-drones-have-gone-to-the-birds.aspx