VMware brings virtual machines to iPad

VMware View Client for iPad, Windows running on iPad

Earlier today, VMware, Inc. announced the availability of VMware View Client for iPad on Apple's App Store. The free app enables enterprise and government users to securely access their virtual desktops, applications and data from anywhere with wireless internet access.

Unlike VNC clients that allow iPad users to remotely control a personal computer, VMware's solution displays the desktop of a virtual machine hosted online. VMware View Client for iPad uses a combination of on-screen input devices and multi-touch gestures to offer precise, intuitive controls for interacting with a PC interface on the iPad. The app fully supports Wi-Fi or 3G connections.

VMware View allows IT departments to centrally host virtual machines that can be accessed from a variety of computing devices. VMware's press release cites Children's Hospital Central California's use of VMware View as an example. "Recently, the Hospital has deployed VMware View to provide secure, 'Follow-me Desktops,' that move from room-to-room with clinicians and staff as they treat their patients."

VMware View Client for iPad simply and securely connects users to their virtual machines centrally hosted with the VMware View solution. The iPad app is offered as a free companion to VMware's enterprise-class virtual computing platform.

"Now all of us iPad aficionados can use our iPads to access our desktops and get an awesome user experience without giving IT a heart attack about security," says VMware's official blog.

VMware View Client for iPad isn't the only method for connecting iPad users to their centrally hosted virtual machines. Citrix offers a competing solution called Citrix Receiver. Citrix's iPad app takes a slightly different approach to interacting with a virtual machine. Rather than displaying on-screen controls for manipulating a point-and-click desktop interface, Citrix Receiver presents users with "iPad-optimized" versions of popular desktop applications like PowerPoint and Excel.

VMware highlights some of VMware View Client for iPad's key features in its press release. The app offers users a "responsive and flexible" experience provided by the PC-over-IP (PCoIP) display protocol; an intuitive interface driven by multi-touch gestures and an onscreen track pad for precision control; powerful security with support for VMware View Security Server; the ability to quickly reconnect with recently used virtual desktops; and support for external keyboards and the iPad VGA connector.

VMware offers a brief demonstration of VMware View Client for iPad in this video.