Slack hails Apple’s new iPad Air with collaboration boost

'We recognize that the iPad is a unique device that demands the power of a desktop experience with the simplicity of a mobile app," says Slack.

Apple, Slack, Salesforce, iPad, iPad Air, iOS
Jason Cross/IDG

In what may be a small tribute to the recent introduction of the M1-powered iPad Air, Slack has introduced a major update to its iPad app with a better layout and more functionality.

What’s new in Slack for iPad?

Slack has improved the layout and added new features for the iPad version of the app. The success of asynchronous collaboration apps such as Slack reflects continued evolution of the enterprise, which has become hybrid, connected, and global.

New features in Slack for iPad include a new two-column layout which should make it easier to multitask and navigate multiple conversations. Slack users will also be able to use improvements to Slack’s sidebar, which lets them sort by recent activity, sync preferences, and more. Improved labels, better screen-reading, and improvements across compose, search, mentions and other tools are also included in the release. A long press on a channel name lets users access a contextual menu for better channel controls.

The focus really is on collaboration in remote enterprise.

HP's enterprise director of communications technology, Greg Epstein, put it this way: “The usability improvements made to the Slack iPad app really will improve how our team members at the edge collaborate more easily across our digital ecosystem.”

What Slack says

Akshay Bakshi, group product manager, mobile, at Slack said in a statement:

“Millions of people use Slack across multiple devices, and the iPad app is a popular addition to their workflow. We recognize that the iPad is a unique device that demands the power of a desktop experience with the simplicity of a mobile app.

"Slack’s updated iPad app bridges this gap and allows users to stay productive, organized, and connected to their digital HQ in a work-from-anywhere world.

"We’re committed to offering a delightful iPad experience, and we look forward to releasing more enhancements later this year, including helpful keyboard shortcuts and additional support for accessories.”

Who is this for?

I’m already looking at how Slack on an iPad helps my own Mac-based workflow, particularly with the introduction of Universal Control. It’s now possible to maintain Slack (and other communication tools) on an iPad while remaining more deeply focused on tasks at hand on the Mac. I don’t even need to shift between application windows on the computer to maintain contact using the tablet.

[Also read: How Volvo put Apple Watch at the center of its services vision]

Slack appears to see this as an opportunity. The company says it will introduce more updates, including improved support for keyboard shortcuts and accessibility, later this year. That makes sense given that Apple’s Universal Control software lets you use your Mac keyboard to initiate shortcuts on a connected iPad.

Slack itself claims to have more than 10 million active daily users, so it’s reasonable to think a good number of them use iPads.

The company was acquired by Salesforce in 2021. At the time, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff promised the combined companies would work to “create the digital HQ that enables every organization to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere.”

That purchase came after Apple and Salesforce entered a strategic partnership in 2018. The focus of that partnership was to bring the CRM solutions to iOS devices, including the iPad. This was a shrewd move in two ways: Apple benefitted from the enterprise popularity of Salesforce and its apps, while the latter company was able to extract maximal benefit from the enterprise industry’s move to Apple’s solutions, led by iPad, iPhone and BYOD.

Since then, Apple and its growing ecosystem of partners have continued to develop the company’s presence in the space.

In related news, Cisco last week introduced Picture in Picture support to the Webex Meetings App on iPad.

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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