iPad 2 – 5 Features That Will Impact Businesses and Field Sales

The iPad 2 landed with the subtlety of an asteroid in Northern California. By keeping the pricing the same and increasing the power, speed, and capabilities, all while putting the device on a diet to make it lighter and thinner, Apple aggressively protected their overwhelming market share. For iPad business users, we noticed some exciting new features that FatStax and other developers of iPad business apps might be able to take advantage of.

Here are our top 5 features that might interest users of iPad business apps:

1. Cameras

For the mobile sales professional, this is nice. No longer do you have to wait at your office to use the camera on your computer for video conferences. For sales productivity, the less time in the office, the better.

We also tend to see cameras as a useful input device for field sales and support representatives. Snapping a picture or shooting video when troubleshooting a product and sending it back to Tech support can pay immense dividends in better productivity and higher customer satisfaction. Watch for iPad business apps to start building in this functionality.

2. Better Connectivity

When you walk into a customer’s office or meeting room for a presentation, the more ways you can connect, the better. The new connection to HDTV will help iPad business users show any app, not just Keynote, on a big screen. You can now mirror what is on iPad to what your audience sees on the screen. Think of websites, PDFs, videos, and any other sales collateral that would help illustrate a product or service in a selling situation.

Enhancements to AirPlay wireless technology will add functionality to the ability to stream videos and photos. You can now embed video within iPad sales apps that will stream to Apple TV. This opens up the capabilities in selling situations. Think about a presentation where you can go wireless in front of customers. This is still a work in progress involving a portable router and Apple TV, in some cases. However, some creative developers are going to find a way to do more things wirelessly.

3. More Power and Speed

The upgrade in this area will be significant. Talking about it might sound kind of geeky but faster and more power, without compromising battery life is a hurdle for mobile devices. There are not that many iPad sales apps that push the current device to its limits. We think FatStax is one that does and it’s nice to see that the fences have been moved so we can add features our users are interested in.

It was telling that Steve Jobs talked about the post-PC devices and Apple’s success in that market. It benefits Apple when consumers choose mobile devices over PCs, considering their market share in each. With the new iPad able to handle resource-intensive Garage Band and iMovie it makes that focus clearer. Count on this trend to continue for the benefit of business users.

I’m not sure I would characterize these apps as business apps unless you are musician or film maker. The key is that previous tasks reserved for PC and specialized software become candidates for mobile business apps for the iPad. Developers will put these new capabilities to good use in migrating these from desktops and websites locally to mobile devices.

4. Browser Speed

Having computer-like Safari browser capabilities just makes the experience on the iPad better and more responsive. Faster, better, and more responsive-there is a pattern here.

5. Support for Small Businesses

Not part of the iPad 2 announcement was the launch of the Small Business Program named Joint Venture Services. Its purpose is to help businesses set up, train, and support their Apple devices. This will be a big help to those businesses with sparse IT departments.

The terms for the program seem to be a bit convoluted but the key here is that it is a platform Apple can build on to provide support services to business users. For those wondering about enterprise iPad support (we are in that camp), I imagine that they see this as a the first step of a multi-faceted approach to specifically attract business users.
What are the iPad 2 features you think will be most valuable for businesses?