Developers of iOS applications are bullish about the potential for a smaller screen device in the enterprise.
Apple today* unveiled a 7.9 inch LTE-capable iPad mini boasting a ten hour battery life and capable of running all existing iPad applications.
“We’re in the midst of a tablet revolution in the enterprise,” said Darren Winterford, director of Creative Licence Digital, an iOS app developer based in Sydney.
“However there is still a segment, in particular in the area of sales and sales tracking, which would benefit from a smaller device.”
And it’s not just the convenience of a smaller device which will encourage enterprise to embrace the new iPad, according to Danny Gorog, co-founder and director of Melbourne-based Outware Mobile.
“It also means it will be more cost effective to deploy, in theory because it will be cheaper,” he said.
“However it’s amazing we have come to this stage, where the iPad has only been on the market for a few years, and now we’re looking at smaller devices,” he added.
Russell Ivanovic, director and co-founder of iOS development house Shifty Jelly concurred that enterprise sales of the forthcoming device will be driven by cost and size.
“I think the apps driving sales of such a device will centre around reading,” he said.
“I imagine a lot of companies who have a mobile workforces would benefit from a smaller, more portable tablet,” he added. “Think about councils who send inspectors out to sites, power companies that send their employees to monitor power stations and so on. The [smaller] tablet could be the perfect size for loading specifications documents on, as well as for perusing maps.”
Development and deployment
Winterford said developing for a smaller iPad won’t be any different from the techniques used to create applications for the larger device.
“Most developers are moving to a more responsive method of development, creating for a range of screen sizes and operating systems anyway,” he said.
The interface elements of a smaller iPad are likely to be the same as the larger device – and of the iPhone, noted Gorog.
“If you think about the tap-target, they’re all the same,” he said. “The difference is the screen real-estate to display content.”
Gorog also noted a smaller device will likely be popular with IT managers who already have experience deploying the larger iPad, as well as iPhones, on corporate fleets and within BYOD environments.
“Many IT shops are already comfortable with iOS device within their organisations,” he said.
* - Story first published 23/10/12, adapted 24/10/12.