The interest around the new Apple iPad is over the top and, while US customers (rest of the world will have to wait another month) are enjoying over 1,000 applications already, most IT vendors are still evaluating if and how to deliver their solutions on the new gadget.
The screen real estate (9.7”) in fact makes the iPad more usable than the iPhone for a number of tasks, which may lead to a more concrete adoption beyond the consumer market.
One of these tasks for sure is server-based/thin computing, so it’s not a big surprise to see that both Citrix and Wyse literally rushed to deliver their Receiver and PocketCloud apps on iPad since day one.
An alternative approach to remote desktop to bring existing applications on the iPad of course would be hardware virtualization.
Problem is that this device features an ARM-based CPU and, besides an early implementation of Xen, led by Samsung, and an ongoing R&D effort from VMware (related to the Mobile Virtualization Platform), no hypervisor is ready to run on the iPad.
On top of that the tablet runs a very limited amount of RAM (as low as 256MB apparently) which may or may not be a stop issue.
Nonetheless, a hypervisor for iPad, assuming that Apple allows such exotic thing, may be a rather interesting niche, able to attract both corporations and individuals.
Parallels, which is quite good in recognizing the potential of niche markets, may want to pursue the opportunity. A cryptic message appeared on the Desktop for Mac blog simply asking: Parallels on the iPad: What are you going to use it for?