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Will Apple Throw the Enterprise a Bone?

By Richard Adhikari MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Oct 21, 2013 2:44 PM PT

Apple will likely debut a new iPad and possibly a new iPad mini at its Tuesday event in San Francisco.

Will Apple Throw the Enterprise a Bone?

"With most tablet products on a yearly cadence for refreshes, and given that the majority of tablet sales happen during the holiday, Apple is at the last possible point in time to refresh their product line in time for the selling season," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at the NPD Group, told MacNewsWorld.

There is speculation about a new CPU, a keyboard case, better cameras, a splash of color, and the likelihood the new iPad will come preloaded with the buggy iOS 7 -- a prospect that may daunt some potential purchasers.

Apple is also expected to release Mavericks, the latest update to OS X.

If the enterprise is looking for a little more business-friendliness from Apple, however, it may not find much gratification this time around.

All Your Enterprise Users Are Belong to Us

Although both executives and rank and file increasingly bring their own iPads to work, One Apple hasn't done much to make the device more business-oriented.

"Here's the thing: Apple [doesn't] have to because the enterprise is gunning for them," Bob O'Donnell, a program vice president at IDC, told MacNewsWorld. "Remember that more phones and tablets used in the enterprise are BYOD than are bought by the enterprise."

That is generally true, although SAP has more than 50,000 iOS devices among its global workforce, 25,000 of which are iPads. Of those, just 10 percent, or 5,100, are BYOD, SAP Americas CIO Mike Golz told MacNewsWorld.

Further, with iOS 7, Apple "has put in a lot more APIs with management tools, so they're gunning for the enterprise, but they're doing it under the covers rather than jumping up and down shouting about it," O'Donnell said.

Apple has not really addressed the enterprise because it would have to tackle each vertical separately. Many enterprises are regulated, so Apple would have to meet various guidelines and benchmarks, contended ABI's Orr.

Apple has focused on style and luxury, which consumers go for, "and not durability, usability and all the things enterprises look for," he maintained.

That appears to be the case with new features reported to be in OS X Mavericks, including Shared Links, AirPlay Display, iBooks and Apple Maps.

What We Might See Tomorrow

"Each iteration of the iPad gets smaller and thinner," NPD's Baker said. I have no expectations that that will not be the case this time."

It's believed the iPad 5 will incorporate the iPhone 5's 64-bit A7 processor or a variant, the A7x, which might be twice as fast as the iPad 4's A5x processor, and might come with 2 GB of RAM instead of the A5x's 1 GB.

The A7x is expected to have a new GPU that will support the OpenGL ES 3.0 computer graphics rendering API.

"I think there's a reasonable chance of an upgrade to the A7," Jeff Orr, a senior practice director at ABI Research, told MacNewsWorld. "Upgrading to a 64-bit processor is the right first step just for performance alone on the platform."

The iPad 5 will probably have a fingerprint reader and a better camera, but it'll be a modest upgrade, remarked IDC's O'Donnell.

As for speculation about a splash of color in the iPad 5, "color is certainly a key piece of Apple marketing, and extending it to the iPad 5 is in keeping with [its] practice of leveraging technology, features and manufacturing across multiple product lines," NPD's Baker said

A keyboard case "makes sense; we have seen a significant increase in sales for third-party keyboard cases," Baker remarked.

The iPad 5 will be priced between $500 and $800, Baker predicted, and an older model will remain in the market at $400.

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