CRN claims Apple is working with VMware to use View to bring the desktop iWork to iPads. WTF!?!

The title pretty much sums it up. In a news story from yesterday, CRN is reporting that Apple is working with VMware to use VMware View-based technology to deliver Apple's desktop office suite called "iWork" from the Apple-owned cloud to be an office-as-a-service Microsoft Office killer for iPads.

The title pretty much sums it up. In a news story from yesterday, CRN is reporting that Apple is working with VMware to use VMware View-based technology to deliver Apple's desktop office suite called "iWork" from the Apple-owned cloud to be an office-as-a-service Microsoft Office killer for iPads.

If this is true, it's so crazy I don't even know where to begin. So I'll just kind of list them in random order.

First, desktop applications designed for large-screen devices with keyboards and mice used from touch-based tablets without keyboards and mice is a horrible user experience. It doesn't matter how good the remote protocol or the bandwidth is, the apps are just flat-out not designed for that form factor. So you have a lot of panning, zooming, and cursing.

Second, you don't use VDI to "solve" the tablet problem. VDI is all about moving your desktop applications into the datacenter which gives you advantages like access from anywhere, higher availability, and the ability for users to use your desktop on devices they control. While that may seem like a good solution for a tablet, users will hate it and just go download native iOS or Android apps instead of using the remote desktop.

Third, VDI-delivered applications only work when users have an internet connection. People love iPads without connections. I can't imagine Apple getting behind a "solution" for an office suite on the iPad that only works when users are connected.

Fourth, VDI is not exactly known for its great user experience. As soon as the connection gets slow you start getting pixelations and chunky movements and build-to-lossless and stuff. I can't imagine that Apple, with their brand built around high quality experiences, would be okay with this.

Fifth, VMware doesn't have a version of View that works where the datacenter desktops run Mac OS X. And Apple doesn't make servers anymore. So is Apple going to run OS X instances on vSphere for their users? Or are they going to write some kind of app virtualization or use something like Aqua Connect? And why does Apple need VMware here? Wouldn't they just go to Teradici?

Sixth, the article states that Apple wants to do this to compete with rumored upcoming version of Microsoft Office for iOS. But this is crazy because Apple already has a version of iWork for iOS! They already have a competing product! Why would they spend all this time and money and effort to make a product that's worse when the whole point of Microsoft releasing Office for iOS is that people want reduced-feature, touch-based, locally-running apps for their tablets? (And the version of iWork apps on iOS already use iCloud to sync documents with other devices, including desktop versions of iWork.)

Seventh, the article states that Apple wants iWork to replace Office for small businesses. That would mean they'd have to start selling this service to desktop users too. Can you honestly envision Apple selling a crappy (remote) version of iWork to Windows users worldwide? Um, no! Besides, customers already have a cloud-based office suite option that's kind of like Microsoft Office except it doesn't quite have all the features and all the fonts are weird. It's called Google Apps, and it doesn't use VDI.

So to summarize, I hope this is a crazy rumor that some VMware employee told the CRM reporter while drunk one night. High-five for the prank of the year! I cannot possibly envision a scenario where any of this makes sense. Can you?

 

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Perhaps a more realistic scenario is Apple is using this delivery method to deliver iWork to non-IOS and non-Apple endpoints (Windows, thin clients etc) to try and expand the reach of iWork.


As you state, with a native iWork client, it makes no sense to deliver an inferior remote iWork to the same device.


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Coming from someone that owns every iProduct that Apple has, i am now convinced, especially after today's Apple keynote that Apple has run its course and has no more innovation to bring forth. making smaller versions of existing products is not innovation.


I cannot think of any scenario where Apple can use VMware View to deliver anything, Apple's entire reputation is built around a flawless user experience, if they implement iWorks over VDI, it will be the greatests gift they give to their competitors, especially Microsoft.


While MS is making all the right moves to get in on the action in the consumer space where Apple is king, if the above report is true then Apple is making all the wrong moves to try and get in the enterprise space and if true we are now seeing or missing the leadership of Steve Jobs.


Regardless of this report, i am persoanlly predicting and this will draw a lot of criticsm i know, but i believe that inside of 2 years Apple will not be as valuable as it is today, unless they have another iPhone product up their sleeve, i think Microsoft will take back or away a lot of market share in the consumer space. Now before you decide to unleash hell on me, remember i am a big fan of all existing iProducts and own them all


Eli


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I think that this is very likely to have more than a grain of truth in it. I can see a couple of ways to deliver a service as described in the CRN article.


If I have some time, maybe I'll write up a couple of ideas, of course this may be a proof of concept that never comes the market,  I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Regards


Simon


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100% agreed with Elias. Very well said.


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Jumping to conclusions regarding vaporware?


I think they should virtualize/VM the Apple iOS.


I am sure that will be in the works.


Regarding the new small form factor IPad:


If Apple would integrate the Iphone into the new smaller Ipad with printing capability they would have a huge blockbuster product.


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