There was the usual hype leading up to Apple’s Keynote event last week and many were expecting Apple to take a serious stab at the enterprise market as their next evolutionary step. And in fact, as rumors had it, Apple did unveil a 12.9 inch iPad supposedly ready for enterprise duty in their now traditional September event.
But besides the larger size, the iPad is still just an iPad, not a real personal computer. Apple’s new marketing chief said this new iPad would appeal not only to hardcore tablet users but also to the professional creatives. During the reveal, whilst showcasing what the iPad Pro can do with Photoshop, Apple did come under fire because Apple chose to photoshop a smile on a model’s (woman) face. A lot of the critique surrounded the fact that Apple didn’t have enough woman on stage at their keynote event, and one of the few who were on stage ended up being photosopped.
The new iPhone 6S does come equipped with some cool features, but none are especially designed for enterprise or business use. I’ve been writing about computers for 31 years, and for at least two of those three decades I’ve felt Apple neglected the enterprise and business computers – which is one reason the Mac remains no more than a niche machine.
ComputerWorld, is still on the case and back in July wrote an analysis of how Apple gives the enterprise short shrift, even as these shops increasingly adopt Apple products. Some departments, such as the creative areas, have always demanded the Mac and now with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), iPhones and iPads are added to the mix. ComputerWorld did what it has always done best – listen to customers and one was the CIO of clothing retailer Charlotte Russe, a woman named Debra Jensen.
Jensen said that in order to go to an Apple briefing about new products, she had to get nominated. “That was a new experience, to be nominated to be sold to,” said Jensen. Jensen didn’t bother to go to the briefing because she felt neglected saying that it would just be nice if they were at least interested.
The crazy part is that Apple succeeds in some cases in the enterprise without even trying. IT has always loved the iPad, and has even put it to good use themselves, supporting Apple on a pretty broad scale.
A few years back I talked with over a dozen IT pros and chronicled their views in an article for Redmond magazine “IT Loves the iPad”. Enterprise users have largely done their own work to put the iPad to work in a business environment, rather than the iPad being business ready from the manufacturer. One of the interviewees, a VP of IT, explained how board members and executive management were given iPads in a bid to go paperless.
We’ve gone totally paperless with our board reports, which is saving money and time with regard to printing and snail mailing. We’re using a great app called Goodreader, which allows the board members to search for certain keywords, highlight sections, insert notes and create bookmarks. We’re working on our plans for the next six to 12 months of what to do next with these devices, but I have no doubt that they’re here for the long term and will make us a much more efficient organization.
IPads remain flexible especially for business functions such as email, research etc. but the new iPad Pro might edge Apple further to the enterprise market.
Apple’s failure to go for the enterprise is probably what resulted in the Mac’s failure to thrive. The price is easily three times that of a comparable PC, and it hasn’t kept pace with market changes. The interface hasn’t changed measurably in two decades, while Microsoft turned Windows into a hybrid PC/tablet.
From a financial perspective, Apple’s decision to blow off the enterprise certainly hasn’t hurt it. It has however hurt the enterprise, which has no real alternative to Windows. Linux tried, but it is too hard to use and manage, and there are far too many distributions to make it easy to support PCs. If Apple is to grow in the enterprise it needs to change the way it does business and probably the first step, as ComputerWorld says, is to develop stronger relationships with enterprise users the way Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and others have done.