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Did (Enterprise) Mobility Just Get More Chaotic?

Hello from Rotterdam.  It’s been an unbelievably long day as part of this incredibly long stretch of travel that I am going through….thank G*d my wife is so patient (meaning awesome) that she is patient with me.  In any case, after a long day of travel and meetings, I got back to my hotel room to listen to the Apple event, where of course, we learned about the iPad Mini.  For what it’s worth, I have usually listened to Apple events from the East Coast, so it was “interesting” to listen to the event at night time.

The one big surprise was the fact that Apple updated the iPad…and this got me thinking.  We have been used to, in the mobility space, to Apple updating its devices once a year (give or take)…thereby creating a predictable timeline where IT organizations (and enterprise mobility management vendors) could prepare for new devices…and hence new hardware.  Now, in one respect, the hardware updates weren’t that much of an issue, because of the fact that from an enterprise mobility perspective, iOS device management is more of an issue based upon the (typically) yearly (not counting patches) updates that come the OS and not the hardware.

But today, Apple announced the iPad 4 (which technically has no new name).  Add to that the fact that the “big” news was the iPad Mini….you know, the new iOS device that does NOT have a Retina Display.

So it got me thinking.  Is Apple creating two levels of fragmentation?  First of all there’s now a new form factor to deal with…and the fact that the screen resolution can very well have an impact on developers (contrary to what Apple says) in terms of how applications may behave.

But more importantly than the screen resolution of the iPad Mini….I started to wonder about the rate of innovation within Apple.  The “new” iPad was released just six months ago…and now Apple is announcing a “new, New” iPad…(which means my iPad 3 is now “antiquated”).  The gazillion dollar question is what (if any) (by the way, can I use more parentheses in this missive) impact this will have on IT departments.  Is Apple now switching to a six month cycle or just resetting the annual bar?  Is Apple and iOS becoming more like Android in terms of frenetic updates?  If so, how will this impact the standardization that we have been accustomized to with iOS devices?  Heck….is Apple the new Android (kinda sorta but not really)?

I know that I don’t have any answers to these questions…but the fact remains that the questions have popped into my head.  I can’t help but believe that I am not the only one asking myself these things.  The problem is that with (enterprise) mobility, the rate of change remains unbelievably frenetic that I don’t know what the net net impact will be.

I’d welcome others thoughts on this…

2 Comments

  1. Posted October 23, 2012 at 18:31 | Permalink

    I think the development cycle will fall back into a more traditional Apple annual refresh rate… which will of course invite criticism from the folks who are loving the quick turnover at this announcement!

    The fragmentation (if we must call it that… much different when it’s features that are varying than operating systems) will also smooth out once all product lines have the retina display and Lightning power connector. They will become the standard and we can expect more routine iterations of processors and capacity… until the NEXT “one more thing” rolls out.

    Until then… enjoy your iPad. It’s still as outstanding as it was yesterday, even if it’s no longer the newest tablet on the block.

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  2. Posted October 23, 2012 at 19:17 | Permalink

    I don’t really see how the iPad mini creates additional fragmentation from a developer perspective. That Apple used the same pixel count and dimensions as the original iPad and the iPad 2 – thus not requiring developers to handle an additional form factor – was one of the smartest moves possible in designing it.

    As to the launch of the 4th generation iPad, that seemed like an odd decision to me. My guess is they wanted to push a new iPad out so that every iOS device is now using the lightening connector to faster standardize around it and that they needed to have a 10-inch iPad with broader LTE support.

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