With the new iPad mini hitting the market, it’s time to start thinking about what changes this new iPad could bring to the Business App development space.
First, we had iPhones, and many of the early Apps were entertainment related. This made sense – after all, an iPhone was most comparable in size to portable, handheld gaming platforms.
Then, the iPad hit, and we saw a transformation in App development. A larger screen and a more business-friendly tablet created a new wave of opportunity. After all, the business world had been longing for a portable tablet solution for years–remember the old Tablet PC’s that never quite took off? Suddenly, a company could legitimately consider providing an employee only an iPad tablet in place of a laptop computer. The iPad was powerful enough, and Apps begin integrating into existing business solutions, or cloud solutions, in a way that had never been seen before. The large screen offered sizes comparable to what customers were used to with smaller laptops and netbooks. Battery life on an iPad crushed the battery life on a laptop.
Yet problems lingered: fill sized iPads costly, and while the form factor is thrillingly appealing, they’re still fairly large–the type of device that’s big enough to drop, and a bit oversized for some field professionals. Folks that might benefit from having the device attach to their hip so their hands were free found iPads a challenge. Is a full-size iPad the right tool for a Contractor, or a Plumber, who’s on a job site and working with their hands a lot? Or someone who might be prone to dropping or breaking the device, while carrying it with them in environments prone to breaking expensive electronics?
Enter the iPad mini. As a 7-inch iPad, you have breakthrough power at a breakthrough price. Imagine all the iPad Business Apps Developers (us included!) now working feverishly to accommodate a screen that’s smaller than an older iPad, yet larger than an iPhone or iPod touch. Better yet, think about how affordable it might be to deploy–or replace in the event it’s lost or broken– this size device for a business. We now know the large companies of the world can afford $700 tablets. But can the small business afford them? Does your local deli or coffee shop use full size tablets? Is it reasonable to expect a mom-and-pop sandwich shop to take orders on a large screen tablet, or would they be better off with something small enough to fit into an apron pocket?
We expect to see yet another transformation in the iPad Business App development market once the iPad mini hits. Sure, there are 7-inch tablets already around–but only one made by Apple. Our best guess? You’ll see a wave of iPad Business Apps targeted to the market space that fell just outside the range of purchasing the current, larger iPad. More ‘middle market’. This will appeal to budget conscious businesses, or those who decide the risk of damaging an iPad mini that can be purchase or replaced for as little as $330 is an acceptable one. Restaurants may begin to use them for better order taking. Contractors might begin to bring them on site more often. Your next home repair contractor might show up with an iPad mini, and have you review/sign your contract right there on the device. (Note – we have an App already that will do that – Kontractor!) And Business App Developers will step up to accommodate these market segments.
Who knows – maybe you’re even reading this blog on an iPad mini!