Enterprise technology administrators need not be worried about the new Apple iPad Mini. iPad competitors, though, that's another story. The device will certainly prove popular. Many analysts agree the new 7.9-inch computer will blow the smaller tablet market wide open. In addition to potentially cannibalizing PC sales, Apple's new iPad Mini immediately threatens the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 product lines.
Systems already in place
Enterprise administrators likely won't see major impact on their networks, however. Regardless how many millions of units Apple sells, policies already in place regarding e-mail servers, bring-your-own-device, email and Internet usage, and mobile devices should accommodate all the iPad Mini users that request joining to corporate networks.
Enterprise infrastructures should be well equipped to support iPhones, larger iPads, Android-powered smartphones, and similar devices that leverage the same e-mail server configurations, firewall port settings, and personnel procedures that new iPad Minis will, too. The devices connect using the same existing technologies and operational practices.
Little terminal services impact
It's possible some users will request terminal services or other remote access for new iPad Minis. With a 7.9-inch display that supports a 1024x768 resolution, Apple's smaller tablet (compared to the full-size iPad with Retina Display that measures 9.7-inches diagonally and supports a 2048x1536 resolution) is 35 percent larger than a 7-inch tablet. The larger format provides significant screen real estate that will make navigating Web pages and cloud-based apps much easier than if Apple had introduced smaller 7-inch displays.
With integrated Wi-Fi connections and optional cellular data connectivity, users will find the smaller devices more portable than full-size iPads, too, but much bulkier than a smartphone that easily fits in a jacket pocket. Thus, organizations may receive some additional remote connectivity requests but it's unlikely those requests will prove overwhelming.
Minimal security repercussions
With proper security, Internet usage and mobile device policies, and procedures now well-honed within most enterprise environments, iPad Minis should prove to be covered by existing rules and processes implemented for smartphones, laptops and other mobile computing equipment. Little should need to change operationally to accommodate the new tablet computers, which should leverage remote wiping capacities using the same systems (OWA for users connecting using Microsoft Exchange, for example) in place for iPhones and full-size iPads. Passcode requirements, too, should still apply. IT departments just need to take time to ensure users connecting iPad Minis to the corporate network understand that the new tablets fall under the same jurisdiction and regulations as other mobile devices and are properly cataloged to ensure the organization continues to effectively track all equipment connected to its systems and resources.
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 of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.