The fanfare around an Apple event is always something to behold, with the devotion of the fans of the Californian firm extending beyond the realms of logic and common sense.
However, this year Apple's given business buyers plenty to get excited about. This started when it unveiled a custom new Touch ID fingerprint scanner on its latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S. The Touch ID scanner is a great piece of technology, designed to boost the phone's business appeal. It works by scanning the sub-layers of its holder's skin to authenticate their identity before unlocking. This means that if lost or stolen, work data stored on the device should remain safe.
Having tested the Touch ID scanner thoroughly for our iPhone 5S review we were seriously impressed how well the feature works and were really hoping to see it included in Apple's new range of iPads. Sadly neither the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 have the Touch ID scanner tech.
Instead, Apple has stuck to its usual formula of trying to entice users to upgrade by making its latest offerings thinner and slightly more powerful, and giving them better Retina displays. For me this is a sign that despite all its attempts to boost enterprise interest in iOS 7 - which itself features a number of business-focused services including 41 security updates - Apple still doesn't get what firms need.
The pricing of the two iPads is a good example of this. The iPad Mini, the cheaper option of the two, is still over £100 more expensive than its key competitor, the Google Nexus 7, with prices starting at £320 and going all the way up to £659. The iPad Air is similarly premium, with prices starting at £499.
Considering the tight budgets of most businesses, the high price of the iPads alone means they aren't fit for company-wide rollouts. This is especially true considering the iPad Mini and iPad 2's lack of enterprise and business focused add-ons and services. For example, on the hardware front, a key feature missing is an official, Apple-made attachable keyboard case.
Microsoft and core-manufacturers, like Nokia, which announced its first ever Windows RT tablet this week, have done a great job creating business-focused add-ons for their tablets. For example, the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 include optional Touch Cover, Type Cover and Power Covers, that let them be converted from basic tablets into fully functioning laptop replacements.
In these competitive conditions, it seems ludicrous that Apple hasn't spotted the trend and taken a similar strategy with its iPad series of tablets - which actually cost double that of most Windows RT devices.
The lack of enhanced productivity tools is doubly damning as it means key moves by Apple on the software front, like making its iWorks apps free, are pretty meaningless. This is because without the addition of a working keyboard the packages are fairly fiddly to use. Microsoft itself came out and said something similar in a blog post soon after the Apple fanfare had died down enough to make its voice heard, and I'd agree.
That said, let's hope Apple gets its business offer in order sooner rather than later so I can finally justify getting an iPad Air on the company dime.
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