Thin Thoughts

It’s been a busy week back at work (yeah, well, this may be an understatement of sorts, actually), and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking where it regards Life, the Universe and Everything. That and crashing out on the couch yesterday to catch up on my sleep – something that is only to be expected, I suppose…

Okay, so there’s this thing called the iPad, which everyone is raving about. I’ve yet to get mine for a number of reasons (not only do I prefer to wait until it’s got full Portuguese language support – since it won’t be just “my” iPad – but I also don’t like to badger folk to pseudo-smuggle gadgetry from aboad), but I’ve already fiddled around with two – and commandeered one for half an hour solely to test Citrix on it, which was more than enough for me to realize that once I own one, I will most likely never (willingly) take my laptop to a meeting again.

Yes, it’s that good, and of course I get native Exchange integration into the bargain, so the iPad is, in my eye, the perfect corporate device: I can use the built-in e-mail and calendaring without a hitch for the usual yak shaving part of running things, and use Office and any other corporate tool I need via Citrix when “real work” is required.

I’m told that Citrix has even enabled VGA out (at least the client was demoed using it, I think), so if that works, I won’t even need iWork for presentations (although the cool “laser beam” in Keynote is simply wonderful).

And yes, it’s perfectly feasible to deliver a PowerPoint presentation atop Citrix using 3Gfour years ago I was in Milan running a complete desktop atop GPRS in roaming, and although there was the minor inconvenience of the distance involved and the speed of light being a constant, it was a much better experience than a lot of the newfangled Web 2.0 “cloud” solutions that people are going on about these days.

But I digress. In a nutshell, the iPad will, for some, literally be the “thin client” they’ve wanted for years, and not just for business users – regular folk could get in on the fun as well, if Apple would release a Back to My Mac client for it that used their optimized VNC-like protocol1 – I’d be willing to pay for it at least as much as for the entire iWork suite.

Which reminds me, I’m really curious as to what would happen if I plugged in that VGA dongle into an iPhone – can you imagine (if iWork ever makes it to the iPhone, given the compromises involved) delivering a presentation using Keynote on that? It would be the perfect “pocket road warrior” kit for doing sales pitches.

1 They’ve extended it in a number of ways, from authentication to progressive compression, so a “regular” VNC client doesn’t cut it. Never mind the ungodly mess that keyboard layout mappings have always been like in cross-platform VNC connections…