The iPad mini sold “just” 8 million units in the 4th quarter of 2012, fewer than Apple’s initial projections. But the new, smaller form factor iPad is already making big waves in enterprise mobility, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon as more and more of the devices make their way into the enterprise.
Most experts think that consumer adoption of the less expensive iPad mini will fuel enterprise adoption of the new mobile device. While that’s certain to be true, there are several reasons besides consumer adoption that enterprise mobility managers love the iPad mini, and why adding the iPad mini to your enterprise app development plans makes sense.
Reason #1: Cost & Weight
The iPad mini is drawing attention from enterprise IT developers who have been looking for a more affordable, smaller alternative to the iPad or Android tablet. The new form factor is especially attractive for mobile workers who need a screen size larger than a smart phone, but still need to be able stow or carry the device easily.
Retail, restaurant, medical, and industrial applications are expected to be the first areas where the iPad mini takes hold in the enterprise. There’s currently a $70 gap in the retail price between a brand new iPad mini and an iPad 2. That may not seem like a lot, but tallied over a multi-location or enterprise-wide deployment, it makes a big difference in whether a budget is approved or denied.
Weight and portability are also important factors for people who may spend most of their day carrying the tablet around. The iPad mini weighs less than half the weight of the full-sized iPad models, and it’s narrow enough to make it more comfortable for users with smaller hands, too.
Reason #2: Existing Infrastructure Compatibility
Enterprise administrators tell us that the iPad mini hasn’t caused much of an impact on their networks. No matter how many millions of devices Apple sells, most companies already have policies in place regarding email servers, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) security, email and Internet usage, and network access control (NAC) for mobile devices.
iPhones, larger iPads, Android-powered smartphones and Android tablets leverage the same server configurations, firewall port settings, and personnel procedures. One of the few areas that network administrators may have to consider is terminal services and other remote access displays for the iPad mini.
The 7.9 inch display on the iPad mini supports 1024X768 resolution, while the iPad with Retina Display measures 9.7 inches diagonally and supports a 2048X1536 resolution. So the larger format provides much more on-screen real estate. This means that when designing Web pages, and cloud-based apps, enterprise iPad app development teams need to consider the display size to avoid readability issues.
Reason #3: Ease of Mobile App Development
The good news for enterprise mobility applications developers is that even though the screen is smaller, Apple kept the same 4:3 aspect ratio. This means that existing iPad apps will run perfectly and look great on the iPad mini without distortion or reformatting.
The aspect ratio isn’t the only constancy. The iPad application development tools and procedures you’re already using, and the iPad app development projects you have already started or completed require no changes to work with the iPad mini. In fact, developing the business case, preparing a change management plan, training staff on the iPad mini’s use, or a new enterprise iPad app development project require only minimal changes for the 31% of enterprises already using or testing iPads in the enterprise.
At InfoVision, we’ve been helping clients plan, deploy, and manage enterprise iPad application development projects since tablets first appeared in the workplace. We have a rich enterprise software ecosystem already in place to deliver iPad mini or iPad apps. Talk to us today about how we’re helping doctors replace their clipboards, sales reps ditch a bag of product samples in favor or a digital portfolio, and customer service reps carry a wide range of mobile apps in the palm of the hand.