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.
"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