Apple Faces Hurdles as It Positions iPad Pro for Business Use

Apple Faces Hurdles as It Positions iPad Pro for Business Use

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

(Reuters) – Apple Inc. faces significant challenges selling its larger and more powerful iPad Pro to businesses because companies are reluctant to switch software vendors and use an expensive device that lacks specialized business apps, analysts said.

“They’ve tried to … focus on the enterprise but over the last two years it has really not been successful,” said Daniel Ives, a senior analyst at FBR Capital Markets. The enterprise market, which is how Apple refers to its business customers, represents 10 percent of its $183 billion annual revenue, he said.

Apple has at least one client so far: General Electric has given some of its 305,000 employees the option to use Apple devices at work, with 20,000 iPads and 60,000 iPhones now available in their offices. It is not clear how much this is worth for Apple, nor how it generates about $18 billion a year from the enterprise market.

Apple officials declined to comment on plans to market iPads to business customers, referring queries to a product announcement event that happened Sept. 9. At that event, Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said the iPad Pro was faster than 80 percent of portable PCs, signaling that Apple may think the device could replace workplace laptops from companies like Dell and HP. Schiller called the iPad Pro “ideal for professional productivity.”

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