Apple is expected to announce its biggest iPad ever in early 2015, according to a Bloomberg report from last week.
That could be part of CEO Tim Cook’s two-pronged approach to convince enterprises to finally ditch their Windows PCs and go Apple devices, according to a new report from financial blog Market Realist.
The new iPad is expected to be 12.9-inches, a bit bigger than Microsoft’s 12-inch Surface Pro 3.
Whereas a small tablet is great as an eReader, bigger tablets are better for business users working with content like spreadsheets, sales order apps and the like.
Bigger tablets and tablets sold to businesses are supposed to be two growth areas in the next five years.
In 2013, tablets that were under eight inches made up nearly 60% of tablet sales. By 2018, they will hold about 43%, market researcher NPD predicts. Tablets of eight inches to under 10 inches will grow from 40% to 45% of the market and the biggest tablets, over 11 inches, will grow from 2% to 12%, mostly thanks to business users.
At the same time, businesses are expected to increase their purchases of tablets from about 11% of the tablet market to about 18% in 2018, IDC predicts.
But screen size is only part of the thing that keeps enterprises sticking with Windows. The other is that companies run tons of Windows businesses software. While you can buy tech that lets Windows apps run on an iPad (known as “desktop virtualization”), companies still need to pay Microsoft for the Windows licence, plus buy that desktop virtualization software.
And, unless the apps themselves have been updated to work on a touch screen and the cloud, using them on an iPad can be a miserable experience.
That’s where Apple’s deal with IBM comes in, Apple CEO Tim Cook says. All year long, Cook has been talking up how successful Apple has been with businesses, but last month he admitted that the numbers aren’t so hot after all.
In his quarterly conference call with Wall Street analyst he said:
We also are in the — virtually all Fortune 500 companies, we are in 99% of them to be exact and 93% of the Global 500. However, when we dig into the business market deeper, though our market share in the U.S., in the commercial sector is good at 76% — this is according to IDC; the penetration in business is low. It’s only 20%. And to put that in some kind of context, if you looked at penetration of notebooks in business, it would be over 60%. … our theory that has been there, honestly, since the first time that we shipped iPad, that the tablet market would eventually surpass the PC market. That theory is still intact. I just think we have to do some more things to get the business side of it moving in a faster trajectory and I think we’re now onto something that can really do that.
Not only will IBM’s huge enterprise sales force sell the device, IBM will also help businesses revamp their software to work better on the iPad. That’s no small task but IBM has a huge services division and cloud-computing expertise well-suited to the task.
Convincing businesses to buy more iPads is one way Cook plans to revive lagging sales.
The company shipped 13.2 million iPads in the June quarter, 8% less than a year earlier and missing Wall Street’s forecast for 14 million or more. That was a two-quarter-in-a-row miss on sales of the device, Reuters’ Christina Farr reports.
Now, all eyes in the enterprise world are waiting for early next year to see if the reports of a big iPad are true.