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IBM Launches Lotus Notes For Apple iPad

IBM has formally anointed its free Lotus Notes Traveler Companion application with support for Apple’s iPad

IBM has formally launched its free Lotus Notes Traveler Companion application with support for Apple’s iPad, allowing users of that tablet to bi-directionally synchronise their e-mail, calendar and contact information between iPad and Lotus Domino servers.

Unveiled at Lotusphere in January, the IBM Lotus Notes Traveler Companion is a native iPhone OS app that lets users of Apple’s iPhone and iPad read their e-mail, which is encrypted by IBM’s servers.

IBM officials said at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference today that Companion also enables iPad users to access other collaboration applications from IBM.

These include the Lotus Connections social networking app, Lotus Quickr team collaboration app and Lotus Sametime instant messaging software. Moreover, IBM portal-based Web pages will display clearly on the iPad through Apple’s Safari browser through which users access the Web.

Two Million iPads in Two Months

While Apple has shipped 2 million iPads in less than two months, the tablet is not yet at an inflection point where businesses are snapping them up for employees the way they contracted with PC makers to buy multiple machines.

That is, the iPad is still very much a consumer device, albeit a really successful one. What IBM is banking on is that some of its more than 145 million Lotus Notes users will buy iPads and will want to access their work e-mail, calendar and contracts from those comfortable devices from hotel couches while on the road.

Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president, messaging and collaboration for IBM, acknowledged such requests in a statement, which includes a photo Lotus Notes running on an iPad: “There was high anticipation and many requests for iPad compatibility, and we’re pleased we can offer this now at a highly secure level.”

IBM’s customers agree. “Lotus Notes on the iPad is convenient and helps me stay on top of my e-mails,” said Dave Stall, the Lotus Notes Manager for the Roto-Rooter Services plumbing company. “I don’t have to go home at night and fire up my laptop to see my messages “The iPad is sitting next to me on the couch and I can respond to anything that needs my attention quickly.”

iPad Popular With Business

Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler told eWEEK businesses are very interested in iPads because they’ve already done the due diligence on iPhone and in many industries found it to be just fine for basic business applications like e-mail and Web apps.

Meanwhile, tablets based on Google’s Android operating system are coming to the fore from Dell, whose Streak launches in the U.S. next month and Verizon Wireless.