Regardless of what it was designed for and despite all it’s limitations, I expect the iPad to be the best thing to happen for Desktop Virtualization in 2010. No it’s not always the best Thin Client but as a sales, marketing and awareness enabler it won’t be beat, here’s why:

Purple Cow effect - Seth Godin, the new media marketing guru defined the Purple Cow as something remarkable. Something that stands out from the crowd and worth noting. A great example is the screen shot of Windows 7 on the iPad. This picture was replicated and written about in hundreds of articles  and  blogs… because it was remarkable. The Gizmodo post alone now has over 62,000 views and 520 comments.

Early adopters will show friends & colleagues - The iPhone started the new phenomena of showing off your latest cool or useful app. Everyone with an iPad and Citrix Receiver will show it off. Godin also makes the point that it’s not the best ideas that win, it’s the best ideas that spread, win.

First impressions count - The iPad is beautiful, when prospects recognize they can also do work with it they will sell it to themselves. The $500 entry price is low enough to justify for companies or many individuals.

Peer envy - As more iPads show up in the workplace and they are put to work visibly and effectively, others will follow.

Executive mandate - When execs see they can run all their work apps from an iPad and get their work done where ever they are, they will better appreciate the benefits of Desktop Virtualization. They will also approve projects faster and demand IT support for their own iPad.    

Internal IT promotion - Internal company Desktop Virtualization champions will set up demos on the iPad, hand it to users and management … Sold !

Preferred device for conference room meetings - The iPad will be ideal for bringing to meetings without the intrusion, distraction, boot up or power cables of a laptop. In the future the laptop will be staying in the office/cube while you grab the iPad to bring to the meeting down the hall or down the road. ( and everyone else in the meeting will ask you how you like it )

Sales demo tool - Sales pros everywhere will use iPads to demo their products, check inventory and bring up photos and then hand the iPad to a prospect. Not something you see happen often with laptops. Desktop Virtualization will enable the apps and be the answer to ” how did you do that ? “

Healthcare, Healthcare, Healthcare - Doctors will sell more iPads with Desktop Virtualization into healthcare than anyone. Even if they have to buy the iPads themselves.

Vertical Market Solutions - Besides healthcare, many other verticals like legal, insurance and field workers will adopt the iPad rapidly if the Apps they need are available via Desktop Virtualization.   

Desktop Virtualization overcomes iPad limitations - Multi-Tasking, Flash, Windows apps, all resolved with Desktop Virtualization.

BYOC - As described in a prior post , The iPad with Desktop Virtualization will lead the “Bring Your Own Computer” BYOC movement and provide IT a safe way to allow personal devices inside the company.

Multiple Desktop Virtualization options - The iPad will work great with VDI ( XenDesktop )  or shared Virtual Desktops ( XenApp Published Desktops ) or selected Apps on-demand ( XenApp ). VDI only solutions will not always be justified for every user or app.

Multiple Device Management - For most iPad users this will be a 3rd  or 4th device, in addition to a smartphone a work laptop and a home PC/laptop. The hassle of making sure you have the document you need on the device you have will be solved by the centralization benefits of Desktop Virtualization.

Standard Desktop Virtualization benefits - In addition to all the above reasons , the standard benefits of security , manageability and TCO still apply. But now it’s really productive and cool…

Besides the overall benefit to the Desktop Virtualization industry I expect that the Citrix Receiver for iPad will expand the advantage that XenDesktop already has over VMware View. The Citrix user experience will be superior to the other 3rd party RDP/VNC options available and create very visible differentiator. As a result I predict that VMware will end up building their own View client to try to catch-up and take advantage of the emerging iPad phenomena. ( For the VMware execs reading this … please prove me wrong and don’t follow my prediction …  )   

Come see the iPad enabled by Desktop Virtualization at CitrixSynergy. Learn how to make it work for your organization and sell yourself on the idea. ( you may even win an iPad ! )