Apple hopes to fan flailing iPad sales with iPad Pro, its 12.9-inch tablet for professional users. There’s no question this is its best tablet, equipped with a Retina display and powerful 64-bit A9X chip, but what’s the attraction to enterprise users?
Tim Cook says so
Like the UK Labour party’s popularly elected leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Apple CEO Tim Cook took a bit of a media battering when he first took on the role. Today his critics look as simple-minded as Corbyn’s, because Cook is driving Apple to unprecedented success. This means he’s worth listening too when he calls the iPad Pro, “a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones.” Cook only travels with his iOS devices these days. If the CEO of the world’s biggest company can do his business on an the tablet, then most other C-class executives should be able to, too.
Apple’s worked hard on mobility for iOS devices and iPad Pro benefits. Why should this be of interest enterprise users? The Apple SIM inside the product lets you quickly, easily and immediately access temporary data bandwidth in over 90 countries you may visit in the course of work. That’s great if you need to reliably connect to your enterprise’s intranet or Unified Communications system without the chore of finding secure Wi-Fi hot or being forced to pay whatever extravagant charges your regular carrier or hotel room demand. (You may even be able to share the connection using Personal Hotspot in iOS 9, though not all carriers enable this.
That IBM thing
Those key enterprise deals Apple’s been reaching in recent months are highly significant. They mean that key enterprise vendors are revising their solutions in order to ensure they work nicely with iOS and other Apple kit. This will trickle down across the industry, so while there may historically have been compatibility problems for Apple users attempting to use legacy enterprise systems, those challenges will fast disappear as enterprises update to new, more modern, standards-based equipment. This enterprise upgrade is happening, of course, as industry grapples with BYOD, outsourcing of key IT tasks, cloud services and so on and so on. Enterprise infrastructure is being rapidly outsourced, and Apple’s end-to-end encryption should help prevent the scourge of huge thefts of customer data that have been taking place in recent months. That’s important -- Forrester Research said earlier this year that it expects business-owned tablets to represent 20 percent of the total segment by 2018 (Gigaom). And Apple saves you money, just ask IBM.
The App Store
Apple has made it easy for enterprises to deploy products en masse. What this means is that employees should be able to take their iPad Pro out of the box, visit a URL, and apps, settings, permissions and other essential set-up procedures will be automatically initiated by the Mobile Device Management system. This in combination with easily available software and security updates, a reliable and curated app selection and enterprise ability to pre-purchase apps or share their own proprietary apps mean iPad Pro can easily become the laptop replacement And Microsoft’s offering Office on the tablet, too (and also sells the Windows-based Surface as a viable Apple alternative for enterprise users hoping to avoid Android security soup).
‘Enterprise computing’ is dead
Eddy Cue took a seat at the Dropbox Open conference last week to observe that the “old world is rapidly fading” and divisions between enterprise and consumer computing devices are disappearing; you use the same devices everywhere in different ways. What you need are hardware and software combinations that let you do this effectively, and that’s what enterprise users must consider when weighing up interest in the iPad Pro, which I expect will be under many a C-class executive’s arm come January.
There are lots of reasons enterprise users may take a look at an iPad Pro, though it remains to be seen how this will translate into actual sales.
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