Apple's iPad Air, iPad mini launch: 6 not-so-obvious takeaways

Apple's iPad Air, iPad mini launch: 6 not-so-obvious takeaways

Summary: Apple's slate of iPads will be well received and likely set the stage for future moves. Here's a look at the consumerization, enterprise and cloud takeaways.

TOPICS: Tablets, Apple, iPad, Mobility

Apple's latest round of iPads had a bevy of observers connecting the dots and the company's intentions.

And why not? Apple is still driven by iPhone sales, but there are significant financial gains from its iPad franchise. While some folks were puzzled by the lack of a fingerprint sensor on the iPad, Apple did enough to ensure a strong upgrade cycle for its installed base. 

Here's a look at five takeaways from Tuesday's unveiling.

Apple set the stage for an iPad Pro at some point. By adopting the "Air" naming convention for the iPad, Apple is signaling there could be a more power user pro version. Some analysts have speculated that an iPad Pro would include a keyboard cover as well as a 13-inch option.

The company knows the next battle is in the cloud. Free versions of software---Mavericks updates and applications such as iWork---are designed to encourage ecosystem usage. Not surprisingly, Apple's primary apps are heavily integrated with iCloud. Remember that the real battle between Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google takes place in the cloud.

Free applications like iWork are built for consumerization. Apple's move to launch new versions of iWork and iLife applications for free are Apple's way of showing that customers don't need Microsoft Office or a PC to be productive. Highlighting iWork's collaboration tools is defense against Google Apps. Consider iWork a subliminal consumerization message.

ipad full slate


iOS and the Mac platforms continue to come together in baby steps. Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said:

Apple continues to innovate in software by converging the look, feel and consistency of its Mac and iOS platforms and the interoperability between them (i.e. iCloud, keychain etc).

There's an aggressive enterprise push by Apple on deck. Analysts such as Whitmore said Apple's iWork pricing strategy is designed to target the small business market. Whitmore added:

The SMB market segment traditionally has less legacy investment in prior Software platforms
and is likely to be receptive of this offering. Over time we view this strategy as a precursor for a more aggressive push into enterprise and sets the stage for a future ‘iPad Pro’ targeting the enterprise in the future.

Apple's iPad upgrade cycle will get a big assist from secondary markets and residual values of its devices. Cowen analyst Timothy Arcuri said:

Based on our research, Apple products generally have higher residual values than competitor products (for example a 1 year old iPad 4 still retains ~40-48% of its original value vs. competitors ~24-30%) which in term ultimately lowers the true cost to upgrade. For example, an iPad 4 user that wants to upgrade to the new iPad Air could sell their used device for ~$240-280 (to companies such as and then purchase an iPad Air for $499-799 with a net out of pocket cost of ~$259-519.

Topics: Tablets, Apple, iPad, Mobility

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      • Look Again

        While some non-Apple apps work well, the predominance are left with crippled or skewed functionality. Even their iWorks suffers from this. Apple is not so subtly pushing iCloud use for all aspects; a cloud that is less than optimal and frankly not up to par of its rivals.
        • What?

          If they are "left with crippled or skewed functionality" that is due to intentional design constraints, NOT due to anything Apple has done itself. So far, I have not noticed anything of the sort.
        • iWorks is not longer, it is called iWork

        • Get rich quick

          My sister made $200 in her spare time pouring poop on Apple products in online forums. They even give her scripts so she knows exactly what to say. None of it is true, but the people paying her don't care. They just want a lot of poop poured on Apple.
          Robert Hahn
          • doubt it!

            Sounds like some crazy conspiracy theory... surely these deep pockets could get the mainstream media to stop boosting Apple "color" updates if they were so well organized.

            Apple gets remarkably positive reviews, considering no recent innovation and phones still with glaring security issues.

            BlackBerry phones (Z10 especially) are functionally now better than Apple, and still, more secure. Would think negative media coverage of BlackBerry despite strong current projects suggests Apple is the one buying favor
            • Funny thing is

              It's Microsoft paying for the negative press on Blackberry. Just like their stupid adds for the Lumia phones. Cheap made in India garbage.
              I hate trolls also
  • Another takeaway...

    The wifi + cellular models are locked to carriers now. Up until Monday, you could buy an iPad and iPad mini that were unlocked. I can't understand why they would do this!
    • Are they

      The prices on the Apple store are not subsidised.

      What the online store says is "Contact a cellular data service provider to sign up for a simple, month-to-month plan right on your iPad and cancel anytime without penalty."

      So no lock-in contract.

      The iPad is also seperate from the service provider.

      Where is there eany sign of locked devices?
    • Not locked

      iPads are NOT locked to carriers. Device locking is done when those devices are bought on subsidized contract. The iPads are not now, nor have they ever been, locked to a carrier.

      The reason that Apple sells different devices for different carriers is that they have different radios in them. Some carriers use GSM technologies, others use CDMA. And even within those technologies there are different radio bands.

      I've owned iPads for both AT&T and Verizon. And both of them work fine (albeit slowly at EDGE speeds) on T-Mobile. Just swap out the SIM and it works. With the new models the radios support more bands, so the version sold for AT&T also works on T-Mobile for 3G/4G and LTE.

      The information you got about iPads being locked to a carrier is just wrong.
    • Its why carriers promote Apple - obligatory data hogs

      BlackBerry phones are now functionally better than Apple, and still, more secure. Would think negative media coverage of BlackBerry despite strong current projects suggests Apple is the one buying favor

      Apple is paying back cellular companies for pushing their products

      BlackBerry and reliable, long lasting phones, that are far more efficient on data, is understandably being overlooked by major carriers, as trendy, non expandable Apple products (see no microSD) are pushed by carriers who see piles of data and updates for memory

      BlackBerry is making the best user friendly phones right now and used to make darn good tablets
      • More functional than what????

        How does anyone say with a straight face that Blackberry phones are more "functional" than the iPhone, or the Android, or even the bloody Windows Phones? What standard of measurement is being used? It certainly isn't the number of apps. And being able to do Mail and Exchange hasn't been the sole province of Blackberry for a long time. And what other company managed to be a single point failure for all of it's customers recently?
  • Sheesh. They called it air

    because it's light. Doesn't mean anything else. Apple is NOT going the Microsoft route no matter how desperate you are to have that idiot business decision validated. Say it with me: Tablets are NOT laptops.

    Ditto iOS and OS X convergence. It ain't happening. Say it with me: Touch and WIMP are fundamentally different, forcing them together is an exercise in pain. You don't copy failure.
    • and laptops can't replace desktops either, right?

      I remember people chanting that back in the day.

      Say this with me. Tablets are computers.

      I will never understand the mentality of having such lowered expectations.
      • Don't even try to go there, you'll just look foolish

        Laptops were portable desktops. You used them the same way. Tablets are a portable screen with a touch interface. They are not used like laptops/desktops. Everyone gets this except Microsoft, who thinks a tablet is just a new, super light laptop with a really tiny screen. And they have warehouses full of unshipped product and a 900 million dollar loss showing them just how wrong that interpretation is.
        • In part you are right; but it CAN be done and done well

          Tablets, as they now stand, are intentionally designed as PC *supplemental* devices; at least the way Apple has done it. However, anybody that has been watching Apple's product and OS releases over the last several years will have already seen that the company has been aiming for convergence. The difference is that Apple's "baby steps" are exactly what is needed to make the concept work while Microsoft has twice tried to make the Big Leap and failed simply because those shifts were too big--too jarring and disrupting.

          Ever since OS X Leopard we've seen elements of iOS creeping into the desktop--though mostly hidden from view. With each new version of iOS and the i-devices we've seen gradual improvements in power and capability that have already exceeded the once-ubiquitous netbook in everything short of running a desktop OS and far outstripping those devices' performance. We've also seen through Apple's patent applications that designs are being worked out to bring both the hardware lines and the software lines back together so that tablet and desktop can meld into an integrated whole.
          --ASUS hinted at it with their Transformer series.
          --Motorola hinted at it with their smartphone docking device.
          Both failed not due to design constraints, but due to the inability to truly integrate between platforms. Apple, I believe, will succeed in fully integrating them.
          • @Vulpinemac

            You're right, it can be done. But a recent article which posed this very question about mobile graphics to all the major GPU players put it all straight. It will be AT LEAST another 5-10 years before they get to where desktops and laptops are NOW. Which means TABLETS WILL ALWAYS BE USELESS FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN DELIVERING ADVERTISING. Look at Google. THey are ruling the world right now AND THE OS IS FREE!!!!!!! How do they make the money - ADVERTISING! That's the name of the game. Tablets will never completely replace computers because you'll never be able to design a tablet with a tablet. You'll never be able to do the same things a computer can do with a tablet. They will always be 5 years behind computers. The budget for a GPU in a tablet is something like 15W, the budget for a GPU in a desktop is like 500W. There's no way tablets will ever keep up. By the time they reach that level of power desktops will be running 5000W GPUs. Common sense.
          • Useless?

            I've switched from a desktop to an Android several years ago. Not because of the advertising or games, but because, with a little modification, I could do my work better.

            I write, I teach, I travel, I need security, I play a mean arranger keyboard. A tablet with a good works suite, good research tools, wifi or 3g service (whichever I desire), excellent security, bluetooth compatability for external speakers and page turning hardware and software, additional sdcard memory, usb and hdmi ports. My tablet has it all, including a wonderful T-Swipe Pro keyboard.

            Of course it meant that I needed a new scanner/printer, but that wasn't a problem.

            The only con that I've had is the idea of being able to read/write DVD's, and this is only because the software hasn't been written yet to interface with the tablet.

            Is my tablet useless to do real work-HARDLY!

            I don't know what planet you've been hiding on, but I know, that at least Android is a real working computer, and not just an expensive toy.
            Robert Christopulos
          • BlackBerry safer option

            BlackBerry Q10 offers better typing and is more secure as a desktop replacement. I rarely use my laptop, thanks to a BlackBerry that's a huge upgrade from my previous Nokia Windows phones, which was slow and unreliable and glitchy!
          • @kennyrosenyc

            I think you have a pretty loose grasp of the relation between energy consumption and performance. A 5000W GPU? You can't even pull that much power out of a regular outlet. That they're not good enough for hardcore gamers is not the same thing as only being fit as an advertising vehicle. Weird reasoning there.
          • Even 500W

            Is a stupidly high consumption level for a GPU. Most mainstream cards will run 99% of games acceptably on a 300W 85+ PSU. I have a mini itx build with a 300W PSU that runs both WOW and Skyrim on max using a 650ti and those games are as absolutely mainstream as they come.

            I think power gamers (or rather hardware e-peen guys) are insane when they think that everyone with a desktop goes out and picks up a 500+ dollar GPU for mainstream gaming. A $100-150 mid level card will play pretty much anything out there just fine with a far friendlier power bill.

            Your assumption is particularly bizarre when one considers that CPU and GPU power consumtion has been trending down at every price point year after year. These aren't the days of Pentium D and Nvidia 8800GTS 600W power hogs.