Apple iPad: Available EverywhereBy Leah Gabriel Nurik | Print
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Apple has expanded its go-to-market strategy for its iPad tablet device, pushing it through retailers such as Wal-Mart, expanding carrier sales through a deal with Verizon, and also taking the device through IT distribution via a deal with Tech Data. But while resellers may be rejoicing that they can now resell iPad, there's plenty of new competition for that hardware sale now, too.
Looking to buy an iPad? You don’t have to look very far these days. Verizon has announced it would sell the Apple tablet at its retail stores, and a day later AT&T said it would sell the iPad through its enterprise sales force to businesses. And then Wal-Mart also has announced it will be adding Apple’s iPad to its retail shelves.
All this comes on the heels of IT distributor Tech Data Corp.’s recent announcement that it is also offering Apple’s iPad, giving Apple resellers access to the popular tablet device for resale to their customers. The increased availability of the iPad through carriers, distributors, resellers, and retail outlets around the globe such as BestBuy, Amazon, Target, and now WalMart spells increased competition for all around.
How has iPad gained ground in the enterprise? One reason stems from the consumerization of IT, as employees bring their iPads into the office and ask for support. More and more, we’re seeing enterprise application deployments that support iPad, and not just for mobile workers, but for everything from HR apps to on-client CRM systems. Some IT traditionalists may decry the lack of security native to the iPad, but vendors are making leaps in securing enterprise apps running on the iPad, and adoption does not seem to be slowing, even after some initial new product issues.
So, what does this mean for resellers? It means a greater market opportunity, but stiffer competition. As enterprises take a hard and serious look at what iPad and other tablets can do for employee productivity across the organization from the IT rep fixing laptops to sales reps delivering rich, animated presentations when in the field or the employee who carries the iPad to meeting after meeting taking notes, companies are expected to make purchases and test the waters on what iPad can do for them. However, the increased availability of the product in the marketplace leaves resellers with a need to find their niche as well as expand their options.
It won’t be easy for Apple resellers competing against AT&T for business. AT&T is one of the few carriers that understands the mobile enterprise and all of the needed security and apps that make end-user companies successful. With embedded WAN access and a strong and smart sales team that can offer affordable pricing plans as part of existing enterprise contracts, resellers may see those folks in the field more and more.
So what to do? Some resellers may look at expanding their portfolios with the addition of the new Android-based tablets poised for release sooner rather than later. Gartner says Android /c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/Android-Symbian-to-Vie-for-Dominance-as-Microsoft-Phone-Series-Flouders-734038/ is the place to be, predicting that Android share will steadily climb about 12 points from this year through 2014, which includes phones and tablets. On the flip side, Gartner also says that Apple has reached its highest mobile OS share, even though shipments will continue to increase since the market is growing exponentially.In addition, reselling and building applications supporting and optimized for iPad and all of the provisioning and support that goes along with that strategy is a solid place to make some profit. However, the mobile market is constantly in flux, with new devices, from smart phones to tablets and new embedded devices becoming more and more innovative and available. Even though competition is fierce and crowded, there is most likely the next new thing right around the corner.