JPMorgan is to issue Apples iPads to all of its investment banking associates as part of a six-month trial of the tablet technology.
"We believe there are real benefits in our working environment that can be realised using this device - as well as the personal productivity and enjoyment that come as part of the package," two managing directors at New York-based JPMorgan said in an e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News.
The shift to Apple represents a real threat to Research in Motion, which has traditionally held sway as the mobile supplier of choice for Wall Street financiers. RIM has announced plans to debut its own version of the iPad in Q1 2011, and has already signed up Sun Life Financial and the Canadian arm of ING as test beds for the Playbook.
At JPMorgan, associates will be able to access e-mails, contacts, calendar and attachments via the iPad, as well as have the ability to mark-up and annotate confidential documents and make client presentations, says Bloomberg.
"There are a variety of ways to leverage the iPad. Some work off-the-shelf whilst others rely on JPMorgan software/security tools," the managing directors wrote in the e-mail. "Depending on its success we will evaluate if we should repeat this one time initiative and/or expand it to others.
RIM is in danger of being left behind in the tablet market, as big ticket banks - including JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse - roll out client applications for the iPad. Recent research from corporate mobility outfit Good Technology among 4000 of its enterprise customers shows that 36.8% of all its iPad activations to date have come from the financial services world.
RIM is also taking hits in its traditional stronghold, with Apple's iPhone leapfrogging the Blackberry to claim fourth spot in mobile sales, selling 13.5 million handsets in Q3 2010, according to data from Gartner.
The shake-up of the corporate smartphone market was demonstrated last month month when it emerged that Bank of America and Citi are the latest financial services giants to consider letting their staff use iPhones and Google Android-based handsets as an alternative to BlackBerrys for corporate e-mail, following in the footsteps of JP Morgan Chase and Standard Chartered.