Here's The Problem With Apple's iPad Strategy For Businesses

This year has been fantastic for Apple, with one possible exception: the iPad.

Researchers at IDC are predicting that 2014 will be the first full year to see iPad sales fall.

If Apple wants to turn the iPad around, it will need to convince people to buy tablets instead of PCs.

In July Apple announced a huge partnership with IBM to sell iPads in the enterprise, and promised to create industry-specific apps.

So far Apple has announced 10 apps covering areas like retail, banking, and travel.

Apple analyst Horace Dediu is bullish about those apps.

“We were witnesses to apps which appeared to be designed for users[!],” he wrote recently. “IBM has had to essentially say no to those who buy and yes to those who are paid to use.”

Dediu is absolutely right that making easy-to-use Apps for employees is a good thing. But by focusing on front-end looks Apple is sacrificing something that tons of companies want: customisation.

Companies will have to decide “whether the default functionality provides enough benefit to create/modify [their workflows] to support it,” said a source with knowledge of Apple’s enterprise strategy.

“If it does, they’re good to go,” said our source. ” If they don’t, then they will require customisation.”

Apple’s new apps will work for some companies, but others may decide that changing the way they operate isn’t worth the benefits new iPads might bring.

We’ll have to wait until next year to see if companies really start embracing the iPad with open arms. And IBM’s Global Technology Services team could help companies change how they operate to work with new tech.

But Apple is going to have a hard time selling iPads to companies if it means telling them they need to completely upend how they get work done in the middle of the sales pitch.

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