Apple

iPad Air sets new standard for business tablets

Erik Eckel takes a look at the sleek design and impressive performance of Apple's new iPad Air.

iPad Air

Say what you will about Apple, but the company definitely sets standards. With hardware systems that have earned design awards, and software platforms -- iOS and OS X -- that are posed to exceed Windows' market share, Apple has earned a reputation for innovation, simplicity, and performance. In fact, Apple's most recent product, the iPad Air, continues its winning ways.

Sleek design

The first iPad models changed the way people work. Most manufacturers had given up on the tablet market. Don’t forget, Microsoft canceled its own Courier tablet initiative. Netbooks were all the rage. But the iPad changed all that, transforming the manner in which users interact with electronic devices. Developers designed applications to take advantage of the iPad’s strengths and didn’t just port existing applications to the tablet. The result was a revolutionary new product that re-ignited the category.

Apple’s design influence on the newest iPad model is immediately apparent. The iPad Air is trim. At just 7.5 mm thin, the tablet weighs only one pound. That’s 28% lighter and 20% thinner than previous models.

Despite the reduction, the unit feels hardy. Thanks to unibody construction and incredibly tight tolerances, the tablet computer is light yet solid.

Read more about Apple's iPad Air:

Impressive performance

Manufacturing such a slim, lightweight device frequently requires compromise. Often times, battery life must be sacrificed in favor of weight, or processing power and display features are trimmed to improve battery life.

Apple’s iPad Air makes no compromises. The 9.7-in screen powers 2048x1536 resolution. The Retina display’s 3.1 million pixels produce stunning videos and razor sharp images.

An A7 chip, meanwhile, delivers 64-bit desktop-class architecture to the tablet. OpenGL ES version 3.0 graphics power visual effects, rendering applications, videos, and even games quickly and efficiently. True to the mobile device’s nature, offloading accelerometer and gyro operations to an M7 coprocessor helps fuel smooth app operations on the go.

Thanks to intelligent architecture and engineering, battery life also remains impressive. Although the iPad Air is twice as fast as previous models, plus thinner and lighter, mobile users can still work for 10 hours between charges.

Connectivity is stellar on the iPad Air, which boast two antennas and multiple-input / multiple-output design, with Wi-Fi performance approaching 300 Mbps. Even mobile business users requiring connectivity on-the-go are in luck, because Wi-Fi + Cellular models support a growing number of LTE networks, plus GSM/UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA systems. These devices can also serve as mobile hotspots, where supported by local cellular data network providers.

The iPad Air ships with iOS 7, which sweeten the deal. AirPlay simplifies giving presentations, AirPrint technology makes it easy to print on wireless networks, and iCloud makes it easier to share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. When you add in the fact that almost a half a million applications are now available within the App Store, it becomes clear that business users will be hard pressed to find a better tablet that's capable of meeting mobile performance computing needs.

What are your thoughts about the iPad Air? Will these devices make their way into your organization? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

40 comments
dialuz
dialuz

This is good article and helpful to  users.This information is also helpful to companies and marketers.Thank you

GTHenry
GTHenry

Many  people writing comments did not understood the purpose of this article.  iPad is very much used in business environment, although Apple do not make much visibility about this. Very large companies like General Electric, Pepsico, Bechtel and United Airlines, use iPad for many business applications.  Not only also Hospitals and Law Firms, etc. make a large use of iPad. The fact that the new iPad is running on a 64 bits processor will offer a huge advancement in business application, like engineering, flight planning for pilots with faster weather rendering and most important improved security.  I urge all these people commenting here to look at how iPad is used in sophisticated business environment and how this have dramatically changed things.


soldier14
soldier14

i exchange my iPad air with my younger brother's samsung tab.i like it more than the apple

comptech0903
comptech0903

Whoever said that ios has 55% of the mobile market share is wrong they have 25% of cell phones and 29.6% of tablets this isn't 2010.


And yeah sure, lets all get ipads in the office that are 10 inches big, have no keyboard or usb and don't run our companies x86 software or have flash support sure that's right.  Let's not get an ultrabook convertible that would supplement our x86 counterparts and run actual business software that companies actually use?  Even though the ipad was designed specifically for surfing the web and playing games and fun apps that 99% of people use them for, let's be apple fan boys because we hate Microsoft and have no products that compare to it's desktop operating system functionality.  Sure, let's do that. :-/


Oops double post I didn't think the first one went through.

comptech0903
comptech0903

First off whoever said ios has a 55% market hare is wrong they have 29.6% in tablets and 25% in cell phones.


And sure how about we got mobile operating system not designed to run sophisticated business apps that is 10 inchs large with no keyboard or usb or flash support to use in our office. Unlike an ultrabook convertible, it has no compatibility with our current x86 counterparts and doesn't run x86 programs at all. Even though it's pretty much just a mobile operating system tablet to play games and surf the web which is why 99% of people buy it, let's pretend because we're fan boys that it does something more because we hate microsoft and have nothing comparable to an ultrabook convertible in terms of actual power and actual functionality in terms of x86 support larger screens and an actual desktop operating system blah.

jsncube
jsncube

I always find these wars between ios and ms amusing.  These 2 companies will be around for a while and will continue to do ok because they both provide different experiences and different needs for the dynamic population of the world.  Most people that I know use both products in some form. I love technology and I have a macbook and a windows laptop, an iPhone and have had a blackberry and a droid and have used all of these in the business world.  In all the devices, there were features I liked and others I did not like.  Maybe the argument is what is the best one device one can have and to me, the answer is "a wish to have a few more different devices". There is no one device beats all whether you are a microsoft fan or iOS fan.  I guess it would not be fun anymore if we thought like this because the comment war would stop :)

Shawn Quinn
Shawn Quinn

i have an ipad. nearly useless. any browser i use crashes non stop.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Look at the title of this article, and the first thing that comes to mind is that it was written by a fanboi. When I think of a "business tablet", the first thing I think of is how to manage them in a business environment - not this sales pitch.

It *IS* a sales pitch by a fanboi.

There is nothing here that is not already known. After all, it has been out for a while.

senerakyol
senerakyol

With this article, author sets a perfect case for cheap game of misleading publishing... "iPad Air sets new standard for business tablets" is far from the title this little ad inspired article deserves. While I have no issue with author pointing out the amazing improvements on the new iPad Air (which we heard about from dozens of people ever since the first keynote), I can't help but to be annoyed and disturbed reading the article. Especially when I click on the newsletter link expecting some business case scenarios my users might benefit but instead find myself on such a shallow article which really doesn't give me anything...

I guess if you use "business" and "ipad" in the metadata and draw people on such articles they will magically become more user friendly and people will forget about all the drawbacks. I don't want to sound like a iHater here, I just want improvement and get the best out of what is out there and it's really disturbing to see such fishing expeditions.

I'd like to believe author had an unfortunate choice of title and this wasn't intentional. Even thought I tried hard to find the reasoning behind this article, I simply couldn't make it pass the point of an iPad ad saying "all you could do on your previous iPad, now you can do thinner and lighter with a lot of hardware to spare for games and videos".

Yes, the author talks about giving presentations with AirPlay and printing with AirPrint.... but sadly he fails to mention these are not industry standards and they are Apple's own improvements most of the time requiring you to purchase additional iDevices which will not work with the other type of devices if you happen to have.. Oh I guess it's needless to say none of these features are specific to iPad Air... it simply shows up to the party with its lighter body and awesome internals and businesses have a new standard right at that moment. Why would we need anything else, if iPads can't deal with it maybe your business shouldn't either...

Sorry this was like a rant I know but the point I'm trying to make is that (IMHO) today iPad, iPhone and business terms are loosely used to create buzz while there are still serious concerns/issues and articles as such which has no business point of view misleading you click on to feed the buzz are just annoying. If you want to use the iPad as your only productivity device, well good luck. It's a great supplement to boost your productivity but that's it unless all you need to do could be handled by fully functional apps or web apps. Then there is storage issue... then there is compliance issue.... and the list goes on...

Sad thing is %90 of the effort made to put iPad in businesses is by users (consumer) and bloggers because they love it for the personal use... Apple just gives in maybe 10% and keeps focusing on it's consumer features which I have no problem but posts like this one, I feel are just irresponsible.

damien90
damien90

Enormous physical and technical developments, the iPad Air takes a great power, a near perfect screen, a range of more than 10 h and responsiveness at all times.

BTRDAYZ
BTRDAYZ

I'd rather a device like the Surface Pro with a docking station, completely replace a user's desktop and corporate issued portable device, leaving me with one device to manage rather than two. But I must say that iPads are low maintenance devices from an IT standpoint. Of the few that I've issued, I have not had to clean out malware, reformat them, weed through the registry or give the user a lot of handholding. For those that want to stay in touch via ActiveSync e-mail, review and approve documents, check on their schedules and research on the web, the iPad does so easily in a weight package that most users tolerate very well. I myself carry an iPad to remotely manage our servers during my commute, with RDP clients.

sales
sales

No these will not make it into our company because they can't run the programs we need that is why we are using Windows based tablets instead. Also you can get a pretty good Windows tablet cheaper.

sdaemon
sdaemon

I don't understand what is the point of view the author is trying to use. 

Is it the industrial design? He might have a point

Is it the business capabilities? I sincerely doubt that a media consumption device can do what a windows device can. Have a look at a surface pro 2. That is really a business capable device.

Is it the cool-factor? Well, that is usefully maybe for the sales guys. Anyone in an enterprise will have to use something else.

Is it the "setting guidelines" factor. Yes. The industry needs a kick in the but to advance.

adornoe
adornoe

So, let's see where the iPad Air advantage is over ANY Windows 8 device....


Oh, I don't see ANY AT ALL!


Okay, perhaps the fact that the iPad Air is just one pound.  But, that's supposed to be an advantage for business use?


The writer above has to be a joker.

pethers
pethers

Browsing by Device type: (November 2013)

Desktop device - 86.18%

Mobile/tablet device - 13.17%

To be fair - Mobile/Tablet Operating System:

iOS 55%

Android 33.89%

Java ME 4.49%

Symbian 3.12%

Blackberry 1.65%

And well it doesn't matter too much about the rest - ahem - Windows Phone, Kindle are less than 1% each.

pethers
pethers

Desktop Market share by Operating System:

Windows 91.74%

Mac OS 7.07%

Oh yeah - Apple OSX is right on the brink of overtaking Windows now...

pethers
pethers

"iOS and OS X -- that are posed to exceed Windows' market share" - seriously???

Have you seen any figures at all on Windows market share versus OSX???

Poised to exceed Windows Market share... LOL

mobile_apps
mobile_apps

@GTHenry Thanks for explaining the purpose of this article.

skiwi44
skiwi44

Yes it is a rant and it frankly makes you look silly.  The iPad thing is done - it happened while you were sleeping. It's there, and rather than coming over like a Jeremiah, you would be far better to figure out how to work with it to your benefit.  It is your type of attitude that I come accross in IT departments that make them increasingly irrelevant to many lines of business.  You are trying to answer a question that no-one is asking.

Smart people and companies are understanding that their customers are now mobile and they dictate how they want to engage.  Pivoting to these new styles of IT is where the money is.  "Religious" wars in IT are nothing new, but they are so irrelevant.

Gisabun
Gisabun

@damien90 : You advertising for Apple as well? Of course there is a higher demand for the iPad Air - it just came out and every Apple gadget fan wants to have it.

Oh. You didn't including the blowing up feature found in an Australian store. :-)

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

@sdaemon You're assuming, like so many others, that the iPad is strictly a "media consumption device". It is no more an MCD than your Windows tablet--it just does it differently.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

@adornoe I can give you one MAJOR advantage over ANY Windows 8 device -- Popularity. Even with Windows' 10:1 advantage over OS X, the iPad has sold more copies than Windows 8 since its release.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

@pethers How about comparing Windows 8.1 to Mavericks? Those are the two latest iterations, no?

senerakyol
senerakyol

For a person like me who has been sleeping in a cave away from the iPads, there is not a single bit of information nor perspective in this article that I have not heard about at least a hundred times. I'm sure involved people like yourself have heard a lot more, so clearly that must be me just being ignorant... after all it's obvious this article and many others being published with "iPad & Business" titles are providing crucial business insights to you - so, I'm sorry. I'll let you enjoy the article. I sure hope to learn to be happy with smaller and lighter things one day. I'm sure it will help me a great deal designing better mobile workforce initiatives. 

Gisabun
Gisabun

@Vulpinemac @adornoe : The iPad or the IPad Air? Oh. Exactly where did you get your sales figures from? I'd like to see a link or two. Since you were lazy, according to http://www.pcworld.com/article/2053340/as-businesses-flee-the-coming-xpocalypse-theyre-turning-to-windows-7-not-8.html, there were 200+ million licenses sold as of May 2013 [6 months ago] and according to http://ipod.about.com/od/ipadmodelsandterms/f/ipad-sales-to-date.htm the combinerd sales of *ALL* iPad releases hit 170 million in October.

Ooops. Someone got their "figures" wrong.

adornoe
adornoe

The writer of the article above is a joker, and you're a bigger joker.


Like radleym says, popularity is not how businesses make decisions.  They make decisions based on capabilities, and the iPad Air is only capable at being popular with the Apple fanatics.  When it comes to business capabilities, it's still far behind any Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet.


When it comes to businesses, popularity is not an advantage.  If popularity were an advantage, then Android would be the winner, but, as we all know, Android is not at all ready for the enterprise. 


Whatever business capable features iPads have, the Windows tablets have that, plus a lot more, including (on the pro side), the capability of running any legacy applications, which number into the millions.  


So, stop being a clown.  ;)

radleym
radleym

@Vulpinemac @adornoe How does popularity translate to a business advantage?

How does "smaller,lighter,faster" translate to new business capability?

adornoe
adornoe

You're kidding; right?


Mavericks is still OSX and it is still far behind Windows 8 when it comes to compatibility with the business sector, and Windows 8 devices can still run circles around any Apple OS as far as business compatibility and capabilities. 

skiwi44
skiwi44

You're on to it.  If you can't carry it around easily, and if the battery doesn't last for a big chunk of the day.  Its. Not. Mobile.

adornoe
adornoe

So, 170 million iPads in 3 years, is supposed to be a figure that shows the weakness of Windows 8/8.1?  


170 million is about what Windows does in one year, or less.  So, comparison of iPads vs Windows, does not compute.  


By now, it's expected that Windows 8/8.1 will have more devices sold than iPads of the last 3 years combined.  So, how is it that Windows is in any kind of danger?  Reality is that, iPads too have been losing market share, so, apparently, people and businesses have been losing interest in iPads for a while now. 


It's so cute (and asinine) that Apple fanatics have to use 3 years worth of sales in order to be able to compare against Windows sales for a year.  So, why not compare the Windows sales for the same period, and then we'll be talking apples and apples comparisons.   

skiwi44
skiwi44

@adornoe  I get it.  You're a Windows fanboy.  To you and your type Windows is the answer, what was the question again?  Enjoy.  For what it's worth.

adornoe
adornoe

The iPad is somewhat dominant NOW, only because it virtually had no competition for 3 years.


So, the established base of iPads in the corporate environment is due to the non-existence of any Windows or Android tablets at the time. 


It's highly doubtful that iPads would have even been considered for business use, if Windows tablets of today had been available 3-4 years ago.  


The question is, will iPds be any kind of real competition to Windows 8/RT devices, going forward.  iPads, though slightly upgraded from when they were first released, are no competition at all to the Windows 8/8.1 and RT tablets.  The only thing iPads have going for them, are the hype and popularity (like Vulpinemac says), and a head-start (although the head-start is no longer of any value, and the popularity won't really matter in a work environment, and hype ain't worth a damn).

So, apparently, it's you that needs to get out more, since, the world has moved on from the original iPad, and now, there are much better and powerful devices than the MCD simplicity of iPads. 


BTW, lack of USB is a very big negative, and not a plus.  iPads will not even begin to be competitive in the work environment if Apple continues keeping USBs away from iPads.  I'd say that, for certain, Apple will finally grow a brain and will include USB with one of their next generation iPads; but that will happen as a feature worthy of a new release cycle, as far as Apple is concerned.  Apple fanatics will eat it up, and will point to Apple as being the innovation leader, by simply adding something that the competition has had for a long time.  USB is not in iPads now, but it will be there soon.  Otherwise, Apple risks getting left far behind the others. 



skiwi44
skiwi44

You need to get out more.  The iPad is dominating in business (real business not the IT division). It may surprise you Windows IT geeks but real people in real business use iPads by preference. Legacy systems are being interfaced through mobile architectures (Kony et al) to work with mobile devices.  The world has moved on from the "1 size fits all" Windows mantra.  You should too.  Windows bigots (in most IT divisions) are yesterday's people, focused on preserving legacy.

BTW, iPads also provide better security.  I consult to a company which uses iPads exclusively over other (Win8 & Andriod) tablets due to the higher security they get with iPads.  Including the lack of USB.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

@radleym@radleym You're diverting the question. Adornoe asked what advantage an iPad Air had over ANY Windows device and I pointed out one single advantage over Windows ONLY tablet device. So many people hate Windows 8's "Modern" interface that they refuse to see the advantages of the OS itself.


As far as business capability, the iPad so far has proven itself extremely effective as a management tool for communications and presentations in staff meetings; more effective than Windows simply because their software is more single-purpose in design and as such less complex and buggy.
adornoe
adornoe

@skiwi44@adornoe Your link points to a clear fact, and that fact is that, even as a less than year-old OS, OS8/8.1 is has already passed OSX's cumulative sales for its entire history.  That is not a bragging point for OSX; it's pathetic, really.

So, reality says that, it's you that's tripping over your blinders, since you can't notice reality even when it's right in front of you, in clear black and white.  

Each month, Win8/8.1, is adding millions of consumers, while OSX's combined versions will continue to remain the same.  That's ultra-pathetic.  

adornoe
adornoe

I'll bet that there have been more Windows 8/8.1 sales than OSX devices sales in the last year.  Heck, I'll bet that more Windows 8/8.1 devices have been sold than OSX devices in the last 5-6 years, combined!


BTW, Apple fanatics are a special bunch, and their loyalty to Apple is the only thing that keeps Macs and iPads alive.  And they have to continue being loyar every 6-8 months with each new "upgraded" release, otherwise, Apple would be done for.  Windows devices don't need to be upgraded every 6-8 months, and that's the only reason that Apple keeps getting such big profits, while MS is not dependent on sales cycles every 6-8 months. 

skiwi44
skiwi44

No, the last numbers put them about the same.  Apple is far more successful in getting their users to upgrade.  Windows is still haunted by the XP ghost.

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