The latest iteration of the iPhone may not be the only device Apple lifts the lid on next week.
While the tech giant is expected to unveil the iPhone 6s on September 9, there is some speculation that a revamped iPad — The iPad Pro — may also make an appearance.
The latest iPad Pro will be accompanied by an iPad Mini 4 with both tablets set to be released in November. The iPad Pro — a MacBook-sized version of Apple’s tablet device – has been in the works for quite some time and has long been seen as the critical evolution needed to reignite interest in the device category.
According to a survey carried out by research firm IDC, tablet sales have cooled dramatically in 2014, rising just 4.4 per cent for the year to 229.6 million units, after a jump of more than 50 per cent in 2013. While Apple continues to hold a market share of around 28 per cent, iPad sales have been on a steady decline. In June, the company posted an 18 per cent year-on-year drop in unit sales and a 23 per cent reduction in quarterly revenue compared to the same period in 2014.
One reason for this slowdown has been the reluctance of consumers to replace their existing iPads with newer models and the popularity of larger ‘phablet’ smartphones.
Faced with these headwinds, Apple is moving to reposition the iPad into the enterprise space and the tech giant’s latest deal with Cisco, which will see the US networking giant optimise channels for iOS devices in the enterprise environment, is seen as another step in making the iPad — along with the iPhone — the mobile device of choice in workplaces.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said this week that with most Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies putting “iOS at the centre of their mobile strategy,” the deal with Cisco provides an avenue for businesses to further deploy Apple devices in the workplace.
More importantly, the partnership promises consistent network performance coupled with device compatibility to deliver the sort of end user experience that should prove attractive to enterprise customers. The tech giant’s existing deal with IBM is already starting to deliver the workplace-focused apps that are likely to inhabit the iPad Pro.
In March, Apple and IBM released new apps, exclusively for iOS but not available in the App Store, including Passenger Care, an app for customer service agents in airports; Dynamic Buy, which allows retailers to look at how products are selling on the fly, and Advisor Alerts, a banking app that uses analytics to help financial professionals prioritise client related tasks on the go.
While the iPhone is an important part of the equation, the iPad Pro might be better suited for particular use cases and Apple may be targeting the enterprise space to kick start the iPad’s engine. Apple had previously said that it would launch the 12.9-inch iPad in late-2015 and earlier leaks have suggested that the iPad Pro may have extra inputs for accessories and increased processing power.
However, Apple may hold back on releasing the tablet depending on whether it will have sufficient components at hand as the year comes to an end.