Apple's iPad Rules The Enterprise. So When's The Second Act?

Apr 23 2014, 9:22pm CDT | by

Apple's iPad is a fixture in the enterprise market, the company is proud to say.

During the investor call for its second quarterly earnings Apple CEO Tim Cook noted–as he has in previous earnings calls–that 98% of the Fortune 500 are using the iPad.

In this latest call, he pointed to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is in the process of deploying the iPads to hundreds of medical service providers.

It is understandable why Cook underscored this particular project—it was a coup for Apple. More significantly, if it goes well, it could introduce the enterprise tablet’s next business model iteration—complex, multi-user vertical scenarios.

Forrester described this concept last year in a blog post, singling out healthcare as an example. Tablets’ hyper-portability means doctors and nurses can use them for “patient-facing scenarios like showing x-ray results” as well as for “treatment-related scenarios” such as inputting and tracking symptoms and vitals.

Collaboration technologies—multi-user tablet-style devices—will also be part of the mix, along with multiple users employing multiple tablets, linked by collaboration apps.

VA Studies the Results

A  successful Veterans Affairs Department pilot,  then, could go far in entrenching Apple all the more deeper in the enterprise market, especially as competing tablets aimed at this constituency continue to come to market.

So far signs point to, if not a wild success, then certainly a solid one. The Federal Times recently reported VA was in the process of getting ready to study the results of the pilot project by comparing the number of patient hospitalizations before and after caregivers received the iPads.

However the department, it seems, is already guessing that the iPads have delivered on their initial promise. The Federal Times also reported that VA has identified three applications that will be released to the public in two to three months, apps that are currently only available to pilot users on their iPads.

With such a positive narrative behind it, it would seem, then, that Apple would continue to press its case with the enterprise with new productivity features and possibly, a modified form factor for the tablet.

Love the Mobility, Hate the Lack of a Keyboard

Enterprises apparently love the “hyper mobility” of the tablet but there is a rising discontent with the lack of a keyboard, a Gartner study suggests.

It teased out a trend from its overraching finding for 2013–which is that tablets rocked mobile computing–that the hybrid form factor was also quite popular even though product availability was still limited. In fact, Gartner said the hybrid form factor was the fastest growing category in 2013, attracting users because of the productivity applications the keyboard made possible. ASUS topped the hybrid ultramobile segment in 2013, Gartner said, due to stronger sales of its Transformer Book T100.

Might then Apple be considering something similar to keep its grip on the enterprise market?

Not according to Business Insider, which has been diligently tracking rumors that Apple is at work, or plans to develop, a MacBook/iPad hybrid that Business Insider is calling the “iPad Pro”.

A Business Insider interview with Apple senior vice president Craig Federigh led the publication to conclude “that the company plans to keep its Mac and iPad lines completely separate to best take advantage of their comparative advantages.”

 
 

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