The dust is starting to settle after all the hoopla surrounding Apple’s unveiling of its “new” iPad last week. But while the critical consensus of the device appears to be mostly positive, there’s still a question remaining about just how useful the newest iteration of the device is for businesses compared to the iPad 2, especially ones with workers in the field.

We’ve already covered one effect of the latest iPad: field service manages can purchase perfectly capable iPad 2s at a $100 discount. But beyond slashing the cost of what came before, the new iPad features plenty of perks for field service firms eyeing Apple’s latest gadgetry.

Eric Lai, who writes the UberMobile blog on ZDNet, lays out four ways businesses will benefit from the new iPad. Apple didn’t exactly design the new iPad with businesses in mind, though it sports several upgrades that field service companies will find useful. A couple of Lai’s reasons stand out:

  • Latest and greatest for field techs: While Apple didn’t make drastic changes from previous iPad models, the new version runs faster, features a crisper display and packs a better camera that’s capable of capturing HD video. “Quadruple the screen sharpness of the iPad 2. Quadruple the processing power. Up to 73 mbps via 4G LTE. All at less than half the weight of a your typical laptop,” Lai writes.
  • Easier to roll out and manage: Field technicians — or many of them, at least — want to use the smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices they’re already familiar with when they’re at work. And more and more, they’re starting to bring their own devices with them to make sure it happens. Now with the release of Apple Configurator, Apple has made it even easier for businesses to make that easier by managing security and the other logistics of outfitting the staff with Apple gear. Regardless of a company’s size, there’s at least one person who, officially or unofficially, is in charge of setting up new devices, and Apple Configurator will make that person’s life much easier.

But it’s not all great news, of course. eWeek’s Don Reisinger pulled together a slideshow of the five features businesses will love (and the five they’ll hate). The good: the new iPad has 4G capabilities, meaning field techs will be able to boot mup more quickly in the field when not connected to the Internet. Tack on the five-megapixel camera (with flash!), and it’s hard to deny the device’s appeal. The bad: 4G models cost $130 more than WiFi-only models, and that’s not including data plan costs.

The new iPad, with its faster speeds, 4G capabilities, better camera, and high-resolution retina display may well be enough to convince firms considering tablets to make the leap. And for those that aren’t entirely convinced, or that don’t want to spend a ton of money on tablets for their technicians, the iPad 2 is cheaper than ever and makes a nice entry point for companies looking to experiment with one of the hottest devices in the world. It might be discounted year-old technology, but that’s still an improvement over what many technicians are carrying in their vans.

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