Now that the new iPad is finally out on the streets, some SMBs may be asking if the new tablet from Apple is more suitable for deployment in their organizations. To answer this question, one first has to consider what it has to offer over the older iPad 2.
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For one, the new iPad incorporates multi-band mobile support that includes GPRS, EDGE, HSPA+, UMTS as well as "4G" LTE. In view of this, Wayne Rash of FierceMobileIT, opined that the new iPad might "just be right" for your business. One of the reasons, says Rash, is the flexibility of being able to change operators.
For companies that need the flexibility to choose a carrier that doesn't happen to be one of the big two, this is a big deal. Other tablets are tied to the carrier that sold the device, and if you don't want to use, or can't use, that carrier, you're out of luck. With the new iPad, you don't have that problem.
In addition, the new iPad packs a vastly improved display with a startlingly high pixel resolution of 2048x1536 that is supported by a much faster, quad-core graphics processor. Indeed, every review that I've read is unanimous that the new iPad's new "Retina" quality display performs exactly as advertised, including this one on Mashable that placed the iPad 2 with the new iPad's screen under a digital microscope. Those who are interested can read more about the new display in fellow blogger Carl Weinschenk's blog here.
In other aspects, however, the new iPad has retained the same processor as the iPad 2, and it is also (imperceptibly) thicker and weighs slightly more.
No impact to most businesses
I've highlighted the most important enhancements above, with the biggest gains being in the areas of the new iPad's display, graphics processing and mobile data capabilities. Of these three items, a critical analysis will quickly show that first two are of practically no benefit to most businesses.
On the mobile data front, while I certainly agree that the current mobile data paradigm certainly represents an improvement over the previous state of affairs, my personal opinion is that the ability to switch operators matters little to most small and mid-sized businesses. After all, most of them don't have legions of jet-setting business executives who fly around the globe with their iPad tablets.
Should your company hop onto the new iPad bandwagon? As outlined in the previous section, I think the improvements in the new iPad are not relevant for most SMBs. On the other hand, Apple's decision to offer the 16GB version of the iPad 2 at a reduced price of $399 makes it extremely compelling for businesses to deploy the iPad.
Ultimately, SMBs should only deploy the iPad if actual benefits can be realized at a cost-effective price, and not based merely on the release of new hardware.
In my next post, I will be examining the various tools that can be used to manage the iOS platform.