Resellers Tell Apple They Want the iPad

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Apple resellers say they are already getting requests from business customers for the iPad. But Apple, apparently, hasn't ironed out whether the new tablet PC will be sold through its reseller channel partner program or not.

With Apple's Mac and iPhone platforms gaining more traction in businesses in recent years, is there any question that the iPad, the company's new tablet device, will follow suit? Apple reseller channel partners already see a big opportunity to take the device to their business customers, which are already requesting it.

But apparently there's still a question as to whether the iPad will be available through Apple reseller channel partners.

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"Yes, I do think there's a great channel partner opportunity for the iPad," Angela O'Donnell, managing director of New York-based IT solution provider W. O'Donnell Consulting, tells Channel Insider.

"However, when I inquired [of] my preferred distributor, Tech Data, this morning ... whether or not we could place any preorders, I was told that Apple had not yet decided whether or not Tech Data would be able to carry it," O'Donnell says. "So, it's a bit of a mystery to me so far as to whether or not we'll be able to sell it or if it will go the way of the iPhone so that only AT&T stores and Apple are selling them."

Tech Data did not immediately return calls requesting comment.

Tech Data operates an Apple-focused specialized business unit, and in 2009 opened an Apple Lab at its technology solutions center in Clearwater, Fla. The IT distributor carries Mac products, but does not carry the iPhone, which, as mentioned above, is only available through iPhone wireless carrier AT&T and from Apple directly.

The iPad's least expensive configuration offers Wi-Fi without any kind of wireless data plan, so it's possible that would be available through the channel since it's more like a Mac in that way. However, more expensive models rely on a 3G network and data plans through AT&T.

"I'm really hoping that we're able to sell them because it looks like a fantastic product and I've had a number of requests to put them on order already," O'Donnell said.

Even if Apple does not make the iPad available through IT solution provider resellers, there is likely an opportunity for some in integrating the systems into business IT infrastructure.

"We standardized on the iPhone platform as soon as it was able to integrate with Microsoft Exchange Server," Doug Ford of The I.T. Pros, a San Diego-based IT solution provider and MSP, tells Channel Insider. "We recommend them to our customers as their primary cell phone platform. The advantages are tremendous. The business applications increase productivity and the great games make executives very happy."

Ford adds, "We have no immediate plans to work with the iPad, but if it is as valuable to us and our customers as the iPhone I am sure we'll work with it."
Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com