Could the iPad lose its grip on the enterprise? A provocative new whitepaper — from former AMD executive Patrick Moorhead, now an analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy — argues yes.

Many of the world’s largest companies were taken by storm three years ago when everyone from the C-Suite on down started bringing an iPad to work. Embracing the latest mobility options, companies searched for ways to use the tablet to boost productivity and software vendors created versions of their offerings that were compatible with the device. But now other hardware players have caught on and are challenging Apple’s position in the market.

New Tablets Are Field-Service-Friendly

Moorhead took a look at rival tablets from HP, Lenovo, and Dell and compared these devices to the iPad. The conclusion? Apple has some competition. These tablets have removable batteries that will allow for extended battery life, they natively support credential managers and VPNs because they were build with Windows, and they have memory-card slots, and ports.

That last point hits close to home for field techs that need ports to connect diagnostic devices and other peripherals. For example, both the Dell Latitude 10 and the Lenovo ThinkPad 2 come standard with USB and memory card readers, allowing field techs to connect critical devices to their tablets. Even with an adapter, the iPad cannot connect via USB. While this may not matter much for sales representatives or human resources, this capability is of utmost importance for field service.

But a lack of ports isn’t the only thing that could drive field techs from the iPad. While Apple’s device can take a drop on carpet, the same can’t be said for other surfaces. Field techs working in more rugged environments may want a tougher device. As the paper concludes:

“…Enterprise tablets now exist that provide the best of both worlds between end user and IT, which puts the Apple in a precarious position of needing to add more robust enterprise features. Until that point, Moor Insights & Strategy recommends enterprises re-evaluate their iPad pilots and deployments. Enterprises should immediately evaluate the latest enterprise tablet offerings from HP, Dell and Lenovo and make their decisions on future deployments incorporating those additional options.”