Is The 128GB iPad A Better IT Pro Device?

One of Apple's apparent motivations for its newly-announced 128GB iPad is to attract more business buyers who will use the device for serious work tasks. Will merely doubling the memory lead to a new sales surge?

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Apple itself is certainly pushing that angle hard. Its announcement press release spends several paragraphs outlining possible business uses after this opening gambit:

iPad continues to have a significant impact on business with virtually all of the Fortune 500 and over 85 percent of the Global 500 currently deploying or testing iPad. Companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data such as 3D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals all benefit from having a greater choice of storage options for iPad.

The smaller memory footprint (and Apple's hard-to-browse file system) obviously hasn't stopped iPads selling in large quantities to professional users. However, research to date suggests that we're not using them for very sophisticated tasks: checking email and browsing still predominate. Paying $1000 for a device to do that doesn't seem like a particularly sensible investment. It's especially questionable in a cloud-centric environment: if documents aren't being stored on the device except temporarily, who needs all that memory?

One possible advantage for Apple in Australia: we still don't have a local release date for the Surface Pro, which is potentially far more disruptive for business users. I'd much rather run native Windows apps on a tablet than have to route them through a virtualised environment. That said, from a security point of view, the latter might be preferable.

I'm sure Apple will sell plenty of 128GB iPads, despite the relatively high price tag. However, whether those buyers will be doing so for business reasons remains to be seen. What do you think?


Comments

    I might get one for my wife - she uses my iPad for (a lot) of media consumption. I tried using it for work (and uni) last year, and it just doesn't cut it. Capacity was definitely not a factor in that. It's a consumer device, not a business one.

    In terms of virtualisation, it's a genuine PITA on the iPad, from a worker perspective. I had to get my GFE account reset every 3 weeks or so (usually at a time of maximum inconvenience, but I guess that is kinda the point). Over the same period, zero calls regarding Citrix via my laptop.

    I suspect the market Apple is really after here is senior managers, those who struggle to understand the difference between Office and Windows on a PC (still). Also, those who tell IT that they want to use an iPad for work, now go make that happen. And then load it up with games and movies for the grandkids.

    We're in the process of swapping senior managers I pads with Windows tablets. They'll initially run our standard Win 7 image until we get a Win 8 image sorted. Whilst they cost three times as much as an iPad, there's no need for them to have a Windows laptop for desktop duties so TCO will be lower. Also trialling the Lumia 920 to replace the iPhone. Micro USB and wireless charging makes for a more convenient hardware package than the iPhone with its new port. Battery life is still the strong point of the iPhone though.

    I'd argue that most IT Pros wouldn't use iPads for their job unless they actually had to.

    Ipad or android devices only have certain business applications. In the field maybe or just business papers. When someone at work comes in asking for an ipad, I know they want it for themselves and not for any real productivity. Business leaders on the other hand keep demanding the continued waste of money on these devices for business!

    I'd say the number of fields who actually need 128gb worth of space for work on a tablet are few and far between. The majority who need that amount of space will fill it with music and video's.

    I'd consider getting one solely for video editing on the road.
    Really not necessary but an expensive toy to throw something together while away.

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