Apple's screen size barrage with iPhone 6, iPad caters to enterprise

Apple's screen size barrage with iPhone 6, iPad caters to enterprise

Summary: Apple's plans to create larger iPhones and iPads may not be sexy, but there's an opportunity to become as dominant as BlackBerry used to be in the enterprise.


Apple's upcoming product launches of the iPhone 6 and iPad refresh are likely to include a wave of various screen sizes---larger smartphones and tablets---that on the surface merely mimic Samsung's approach of carpet bombing categories with devices of every dimension.

But that view is a bit superficial. Apple's iPhone 6 event Sept. 9 is likely to see a big upgrade cycle because the company will reach people who gravitated to Android largely over the device size. Simply put, the iPhone 5s is too small for a lot of folks. Samsung's phablet approach has merit and a strong customer base.

More: Apple said to be preparing larger iPad for 2015: Could it drive vital enterprise growth? | IBM, Apple forge enterprise app pact: Watson, meet iPad | Apple announces September 9 event for iPhone 6 reveal | Analyst briefing: Managing the influx of Apple devices into the workplace

For the iPad, Apple is reportedly planning a 12.9-inch iPad. A tablet that size can be mocked by tech insiders, but in corporations an iPad that large with a keyboard could easily be a Surface or 2-in-1 PC threat.

The story lines behind Apple's screen size coverage could revolve around innovation (the company is out of ideas) and me-too (Samsung already has devices in all sizes), but both points miss the bigger picture. A 12.9-inch iPad may seem absurd until you think about the enterprise where a tablet that size could snatch some of the laptop buying cycle. Larger phones may also seem odd until execs want to consolidate what's in their bags lugged through airports. Two-in-one devices make sense in corporations.

It's quite possible that Apple's screen size barrage is really about becoming the BlackBerry in its heyday---an enterprise juggernaut. Apple's deal with IBM is one obvious data point that the company under CEO Tim Cook is much more in tune with the enterprise. Cook also realizes that the enterprise game is lucrative, can move units and has a longer tail than the consumer market. What if CIOs start saying "no one is fired for buying from Apple"? Here's what'll happen: Apple will defy the laws of large numbers and continue to grow even if there's no iTV or iWatch ready for prime time.

apple MMO

Here's the real punch line: In spite of itself, Apple has an enterprise foothold and is still early. Consider the following:

  • Enterprises are in the middle of a corporate PC upgrade cycle. Traditional vendors are pitching 2-in-1 devices and may find an audience because corporations would rather manage one buying cycle (PCish) instead of two (PCs and tablets). A larger iPad could reach that market the Microsoft Surface is trying to hit.
  • Touch is still in the early innings in corporations. There's a valid reason that Windows 7 is the front runner in the corporation and it goes well beyond the merits of Windows 8. The big reason: Enterprise apps aren't touch ready yet. Application modernization and touch devices go together. Apple could be in the right place at the right time as these enterprise apps are touch enabled.
  • Apple became an enterprise player via the bring your own device movement. Companies find BYOD to be a pain. By teaming with IBM and bulk buying plans, enterprises will give their employees what they want with the perks of central support and management. With Cook, enterprises also have a receptive ear. In that context, Apple's plan to offer a bevy of screen sizes make sense even if they don't excite the masses.

ZDNet's Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. As a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet's global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the US.

Previously on Monday Morning Opener

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone, iPad, Smartphones, Tablets

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  • "A 12.9-inch iPad may seem absurd" - sez who?

    I've never heard such twaddle.

    Why does the tech bubble have this obsession that all needs are met by one - or at most two - size screens?

    27" may be a risk; 17" may only make a small profit. But a mere 12.9" absurd? Ridiculous comment.

    Ever been in a TV shop and seen the range of options?
    Ever been in a clothes shop?

    I'm amazed that no-one has experiemented with a huge range of sizes. Design and manufacturing costs for extra sizes are relatively small (ie compared to original design costs), so what's to lose? Some may merely cover their costs, other might be surprisingly successful. One or two might fail. With small losses.

    Use some imagination. Works for toymakers.
    • 10" Too Small, 15" Too Big

      Just a personal opinion. I used an Original Surface as my laptop for a year. I found it too small to be really practical to be used this way but made due. I have always liked 15" laptops so I got a 15" hybrid. In general I am finding it a bit to large and heavy. I never thought of 15" laptops as heavy until using the 10" for a year. Both have digitizing touch and with OneNote I was able to get rid of my 3 pound plus portfolio of paper. The 15" hybrid weighs less than the 15" laptops I have used. The total weight that I carry now is much less compared to old laptops with paper but I got really spoiled. Maybe 12" is just about the right size.
      • 12 - 13

        That seems to be the sweet spot for me. For a notebook.
        But my desk has a 27 ;-)

        I do use a tablet for mtg note taking.....
        • 27" for desk, 15-17" for laptops

          I agree on the sweet spot in sizes. I have a Lenovo 27" A730 for the desk, and
          I'm finding the newer ultra thin Acer Aspire R7 convertible the best thing since sliced bread.
          Christopher Moor
          • Multiple Monitors

            On my desk I have 1@24" and 2@21". One monitor on the desk no mater what the size just does not cut it.
    • A 27" iPad?

      And you refer to the author's work as twaddle?

      And in terms of size experimentation, tablets exist in a number of sizes -- just see Samsung's or Asus' tablet product line (7", 8", 10", 10.5", 12.2").

      Finally, screen size is not going to push enterprise growth. It's going to be a combination of functionality, security and economics -- all areas where the iPad and iPhone falter.
      • That was not the O.P.'s point

        The O.P. was CLEARLY referring to the author's contention that OTHER people would call this absurd was, well, absurd.
        Further, the idea that the iPad page behind other platforms in functionality (with more apps, more big quality apps, and MUCH higher revenue in store purchases) security (with NO major platform penetrations and NO known malware in the wild) and economics (where again, the iPad makes more money both in unit sales and in App Store purchases than all the other mobile platforms combined, is, well, absurd.
        • Number of apps does not equate to functionality

          Nor do sales of Minecraft, Disney's Castle of Illusion, Cookie Monster's Challenge, and Strawberry Shortcake Berry Beauty Salon (4 of the top 5 paid apps on iPad).

          Functionality means things like the iOS Mail app having the ability to truly show email in conversation view (it does not show Sent items, which represents half the conversation), having an addressable file system, having the ability to truly multitask, etc.

          Regarding security, we were working with a large financial institution that wanted to deploy the iPad but scrapped the project because of security concerns.

          Finally, economics has to do with cost benefit analysis -- since you seem to be a little slow, that means that the iPad is too expensive for what it does.

          That doesn't mean that iPads don't get deployed in enterprise environments -- we've actually done that where it was appropriate. It's just an uphill battle that often ends up with Dell or Lenovo Windows devices being selected in the end.
          • Nice job cherry picking what you reply to

            Why am I not surprised?
            I never claimed number of apps equate to functionality., Having anticipated just this nonsensical response, I addressed it in my original postman anyone who can read can see.
            As to factual statements, 1) having an "addressable file system" (pretty sure you don't know what the word "addressable" means) is hardly a hit to functionality for the vast majority of users. For those who need it, they tend to be farther along the experience curve, and for them, there are work arounds. 2) iOS has has "true multitasking" from day one. It is Unix, after all. 3) Re: your comment on security, so what? 4) leaving aside your idiotic ad hominem, seeing as iOS has approximately 98% penetration of mobile into the enterprise, the idea that "the iPad is too expensive for what it does" is simply nonsense, with NO empirical support.
          • Troll

            Should've know better...
          • Nice that you admit it

    • Samsung 12" Is Awesome

      Since the Samsung Galaxy 12" is awesome, why wouldn't the iPad 12" be super cool too?
  • Reality

    I'm so sick of hearing about this magical IBM partnership. All that's been done is announce it - people act like they have this huge wait list of companies eager to sign up for "enterprise support" for iOS.

    IBM has a 3rd rate MDM that is not par with the industry leaders which include Blackberry's own solution that - yes supports iOS! There is nothing special about IBM's MDM offering that every other solution can also do. You think all these companies that deployed MDM solutions the past 2-3 years are just going to switch (to a lesser functional MDM)?!?

    These "enterprise Apps" don't exist! Stop acting like you can purchase them as you need to work with IBM professional and developer services to create them specific to your company and data source (which may or may not work with IBM's toolset). Trust me this is not going to cheap and only the largest corporations will bother looking into it.

    Bulk purchase of iOS. Yawn .. I can do the same from Apple, any of our wireless carrier partners etc. IBM provides NOTHING extra and the same discount can be hand elsewhere. Unless IBM is the lone provider of iOS devices for enterprise now?

    IBM will have on site iOS support options but that is going to be expensive as well. Chances are almost every large company has a mobile support team that's dealt with Apple since iPhone and iPad came out. Apple didn't listen then and they don't listen now - their pushing this to IBM so they don't need to deal with it.

    Agree BYOD was how iOS came into the BYOD world and this is a big reason the IBM partnership came out - that's the ONLY iOS is coming into enterprise. There are very few companies that are deploying iOS - heck I know plenty still deploying legacy Blackberry devices by the truck load - why? Because they work and are basically zero cost at this point. If all you care about is mobile email - what is better than a Blackberry? Why buy iPhones when employees are eager to use their own? But my friend the other shoe dropped and employees are now feeling the burn of the BYOD cost shift and with recent employee lawsuits around usage of personal hardware at work - people want to be compensated. Give this a little more time but I already see the desire for BYOD moving away and back to a corporate provided device.

    We'll see how the larger iPhone do - my guess is this will be a perk for the C level so they can distance themselves from the average worker using the 5S. Big bad Brad needs the newest and biggest smartphone so he can be BMOC and everyone know he's money.
    • The iOS and IBM partnership with the bigger screens, might be useful,

      for many enterprises with frequently-traveling users. Doctors, for example, almost universally buy Apple phones or pads. But the hospitals they work with, often are stuck with Windows. This is changing, as Linux is coming to dominate healthcare applications, and of course IBM wants to be at the forefront of that. The fact that MSFT has pretty much thrown its users under the bus with the ever-more-dysfunctional UIs, gives IBM an edge it hasn't had for a long time.

      So the logical place to start re-entering small business, is in larger enterprises, like hospitals, financial institutions, etc. which already have started adopting Linux for a variety of their larger needs. From there, IBM can learn much about how to tweak Linux to make it a desktop-friendly entity, and from there can figure out how to mass-market it for small business. I suspect Dell went private for the same reason.

      It's a longterm gamble, but with MSFT being so deaf still, the gamble might well pay off. As a longterm MSFT user, I find myself now rooting for the opposing 'team'. And I hate Apple with a passion...
      • Huh?

        IBM's business revolves around a niche market. They target the premium segment for Enterprise, their services don't come cheap. IBM has been focusing on their analytics software to project revenues and so forth. Hospitals are playing a different game.

        Hospitals need data, a lot of their "income" comes from insurance companies which is often a game of cat and mouse. The best analytics software isn't going to convince the insurance company that they need to pay little Johnny's surgery because he's covered under his Daddy's plan.
      • Well scripted, brainout.

        Did you take that from some Apple sale brochure, as it really doesn't sound heartfelt. Just the fact that you took his argument as an opportunity to turn this into some big anti-MS rant has me feeling that it's not genuine, not in the least.

        Seriously, the line "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" comes to mind after reading your posts, which is why they are almost impossible to believe, in my opinion.

        Not to add that your facts and assessments don't appear to be based in facts, instead just desires.
    • Defacto enterprise expert?

      I think not:-(
      What're you hiding under a corporate rock? It's plain to see you don't care for Apple, but seriously - the enterprise has gone quite fruity, with no end in sight... Don't drool useless drivel - brings facts... Your personal place of employment may work with co-workers, but in the rest of the enterprise segment, Apple has brought their "A" game, and continues to march... Like it or not:-)
      • Fruit stand at most

        Enterprise is using iOS and Android as a means of communication and some very niche operational tasks. You can't run a enterprise via tablet. End of the day you still need your notebooks and desktops. Look at businesses that have traded BB for iOS. Are they doing more running the business with iOS? No.
        As a member of a global enterprise, I have seen department after department try to find a way to incorporate iOS into day operations only to have it consistently fall far short of expectations. A number of these are moving to Android for the ability to put a hardened kernel with encryption on the device.
        Add IBM. And? Still waiting to see a definitive benefit there.

        • Discussion is about tablets incorporated into the enterprise market...

          Not about tablets replacing notebooks and desktop PCs. Everyone knows Microsoft dominates and will continue to dominate the enterprise PC market, we are talking about other devices like smart phones and tablets that's since made its way into the enterprise environment.

          iPads still account for 91 per cent of the enterprise "tablet" market, and 98 per cent in Fortune 500 companies, and 95 per cent of the education tablet market. Fact.
    • Blackberry or Nokia 920's?

      I've found the 920's a great inexpensive option for deployment as well for phones.
      Christopher Moor