While tablet sales declined this past quarter, the strategic use case for the iPad is increasing, according to Dean Hager, CEO of JAMF Software, a company focused exclusively on managing, securing and deploying Apple devices.
He says that the iPad is no longer just for the technology enthusiast; it’s being leveraged with iOS apps to transform business processes and transactions. This trend is reinforced and supported by the IBM MobileFirst Platform and Apple Mobility Partner Program in business and now iOS 9.3 in education, he adds.
Apple World Today recently interviewed Hager about the iPad’s strategic use case.
AWT: How do you see the iPad Pro affecting the strategic use case for the Apple tablet?
Hager: Usage for the iPad is in the middle of transformation, with or without the introduction of the iPad Pro. Historically, iPads have been used by business professionals for communication, note-taking, entertainment, and niche use-cases. Within specific industries, iPads have been used as customer kiosks or to browse brochures and documents.
However, in the past year or two, more industry-specific applications have been introduced, transforming business operations at a fundamental level. Retailers, for example, use iPads to get out from behind the counter and move the point of sale to where the merchandise and customers are at. Doctors are using iPads to interact with and treat patients. Insurance agents have apps to enable them to work onsite where their customers are. Industry-specific applications for the iPad are proving to be the perfect solution to intersect business and customers. In 2016 and beyond, this trend will accelerate with initiatives like IBM’s MobileFirst and Apple’s Mobility Partner Program (MPP).
The introduction of the iPad Pro, with it’s larger screen, split-view capability, stylus pencil, smart keyboard, multi-touch technology, and a high-performance processor will address industry-specific use cases beyond what smaller iPads can address. It won’t replace other iPads. Rather, Apple is now delivering a broader range of sizes in order to address a broader range of industry use cases.
Plus, it is worth noting that Apple is the first company to get the stylus (aka Pencil) right. Annotating and editing a document with the Apple Pencil is nearly akin to interacting with paper, which will enable even more business use cases. Most professional people should be able to transform how they work today with the iPad Pro. And, as one would expect, creative use cases such as video and photo editing, music creation, and graphic design is where the iPad Pro really shines.
And finally, and perhaps most significantly, the iPad Pro is the first tablet that really has a chance to be a legitimate Windows PC replacement device.
AWT: Reviews for the iPad Pro have been divided to say the least. Do you see the super-sized iPad as a laptop replacement or as another, separate type of business tool?
Hager: The decline of the PC is well-documented. Mobile is emerging, and Microsoft does not have a strong position in mobility. PCs have increasingly been replaced by Apple MacBooks because employees want to use what they're already familiar with at home and in school. The result has been improved productivity, creativity, and self-sufficiency in the workplace.
Up until now, the MacBook has been considered Apple’s only legitimate laptop replacement device at work. Very few of us have gone all-iPad all-the-time. However, with the substantial improvement in Microsoft applications running on the iPad, and the size, speed, keyboard, and multi-processing capabilities of the iPad Pro, most business professionals now have all the capability they need to perform in their daily jobs.
In fact, I see the iPad Pro as a device designed specifically to replace laptops, not other tablets. When I walk around the office, or lie in bed at night reading, I want my Mini. However, at my desk, I want my Pro. With the iPad Pro, Apple has introduced the potential of users owning two iPads for different purposes, similar to how people own a laptop and tablet today. In other words, with the Pro, it’s possible for workers to go all-iPad all-the-time.
All of this means that Apple now offers two legitimate choices for employees to replace their Microsoft PC: the Mac and iPad. And by letting the users choose, businesses can reduce training, lower help-desk calls, and empower users to be more productive at work while improving their job satisfaction.
AWT: How do you see the upcoming iOS 9.3 affecting iPad sales in schools?
Hager: The personalized learning movement is transforming schools at every level. Properly implemented, technology can be used to address students’ specific learning needs with a personal experience as never before. And, as with all great transformations, the debate over which technology is best is practically a religious argument.
On one hand is Apple, the clear student choice. Apple is cool. It’s what students use at home, and what they will likely use in their future profession. Plus, Apple’s iOS learning content and applications are second to none. On the other hand is Google, with the Chromebook, which offers a cheaper price and perceived greater control for educators. But, less learning content exists, students reject them, and student data privacy is often perceived as an issue. This technology debate pits student versus educator.
With iOS 9.3, Apple takes an enormous leap to win over school administrators and teachers. Apple’s school management makes iPads easier to deploy and manage; the Classroom application gives teachers simple-to-use control of their classroom; and Shared iPad support allows schools to deploy a personal experience for each student, without the cost of buying an iPad for every student.
Many in education have been waiting for Apple to step up with this functionality. It may be later than they wanted, but it’s finally here. Schools can now provide students what they want, the best learning environment, and the privacy they have the right to, while satisfying the economic and administrative needs of the school.
(JAMF is a global company with offices in Minneapolis, Wisconsin, Silicon Valley, New York, Sydney, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Poland. More than 6,000 global customers, including several of the Fortune 100, rely on the company to manage more than 5.5 million devices. The JAMF Nation community is the world’s largest Apple IT community, with more than 27,000 members.)