Image: Denys Prykhodov / Getty Images

Apple didn’t coast from 2010 through 2019; instead, the company that previously introduced such revolutionary products as the Mac and iPhone released another innovative device in 2010’s iPad, as well as four other products important to businesses.

This article is also available as a download, Apple’s 5 most important business products of the decade (free PDF).

SEE: Top 10 IT trends of the last 20 years (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


When the iPad was introduced in April 2010 at the height of the netbook fad, Apple effectively killed the burgeoning trend in favor of touch-sensitive tablet computers that changed the way business users work. The fast and portable iPad eliminated the need for a dedicated wired keyboard while also simplifying email, messaging, and collaboration.

Now seven generations deep, Apple iPads are potent desktop and laptop replacements with impressive speed and performance, and the support pencils (Figure A) perfect the electronic stylus and tablet combination. Whether sending and receiving email, managing calendars, producing documents, editing spreadsheets, generating presentations, or powering other tasks, iPads changed the way everyone from retailers to manufacturers to healthcare providers operate every day.

Figure A

The Apple iPad and optional stylus are a capable combination.
Image: Apple Inc.

SEE: Apple’s 5 most important business services of the decade (TechRepublic)

iPhone X

The original iPhone, introduced in June 2007, changed smartphones forever. The collection and integration of a reliable virtual keyboard, texting, dedicated apps, secure operation, ease of use, and music within a trim digital cellular phone all combined within the original iPhone to change the way business users communicated and behaved.

In September 2017, Apple debuted the iPhone X with its Face ID feature (Figure B).

Figure B

Face ID changed the way users authenticate and unlock devices.
Image: Apple Inc./screenshot by CNET

The authentication feature was new to the 11th generation smartphone and was among the first widely available technology that permitted business users to bypass simple passwords each time device access was needed. With Face ID, users could look at their phone to authenticate, make purchases, and access protected documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, among other elements. While security pundits argue the merits of Touch ID, Face ID, passcode complexity, and other biometric controls, Face ID is among the first widely adopted technologies that permits business users to uniquely identify themselves and save keystrokes while authenticating.

SEE: More Decade in Review coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

Apple Business Manager

Any organization that administers multiple users and devices understands the complexities of tracking app purchases and corresponding licensing, deploying those applications, and keeping those applications and devices current and up-to-date.

Apple Business Manager, launched to the public in summer 2018, is a time-saving solution organizations can implement to simplify mobile device management (MDM) and administration. The platform also makes it easier for businesses to manage device enrollment and volume purchases. And with ISO 27001 and 27018 certifications, businesses can rest assured the platform meets commonly accepted information security management standards.

SEE: Decade in tech: What stood out or fell flat in the 2010s (ZDNet)

Apple Watch

Similar to the manner in which Apple seized share of the cell phone and tablet markets with its iPhones and iPads, so, too, has the firm captured wearables market share with the Apple Watch. Business meetings will never, subsequently, be the same.

From calendar reminders to the ability to surreptitiously monitor and respond to incoming messages, the Apple Watch (Figure C) enhances the way business users interact with their iPhones and Macs, among other devices. Properly configured, business users can use their Apple Watch to even unlock their computers.

Figure C

The Apple Watch changes the way users interact with their iPhones, Macs, and other electronic devices.
Image: Apple Inc.

Launched in April 2015, the Apple Watch has become ubiquitous. You’ll be hard-pressed to attend a business meeting or congregation and not see at least one Apple Watch in the room.

SEE: Apple Watch Series 5: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

In addition to providing the time, the Apple Watch also assists business users in knowing when it’s time to step away from the desk for a quick break, head to a meeting across town, or confirm an important task is due. The Apple Watch may be a necessity, but the popular wearable certainly aids efficiency and productivity and changes the way business users interact with their other electronic devices.

SEE: Decade in Review 2010 – 2019 (CNET)

Retina display

Smartphones and laptops are machines of convenience. The ability to access spreadsheets, send and receive email, compose documents, and perform numerous other tasks while on the go has always proven helpful, even necessary. But smartphones and laptops weren’t always known for superior resolution or color representation. That all changed in June 2010 when Apple released its first Retina display on the iPhone 4, and again in June 2012 when the first MacBook Pro with a Retina display was announced. The displays boasted high pixel density and stunning clarity.

Apple’s patented Retina technology leverages a specific equation to help calculate optimal viewing. By calculating pixel density, as well as the display’s average distance from the eye, Apple’s engineers were able to improve the sharpness of images and text. Users working in advertising, marketing, product development, promotional and similar industries dependent upon graphical reproduction and representation particularly appreciate the innovation.

The next decade: What can we expect from Apple?

What the next decade has in store is anyone’s guess. With the departure of Apple’s iconic designer, Jony Ive, the company is increasingly developing a reputation for service, as opposed to product, innovation. That said, Apple has long survived on the merits of its hardware, a tenet reinforced by Apple TV Plus‘s ready acceptance and adoption by Apple TV and other Apple device users.

But one bet is certain; Apple is likely to continue introducing paradigm-changing technologies, on average, once a decade. And, it’s been almost 10 years since the iPad was introduced, so the next revolutionary release could be right around the corner.