More and more, businesspeople — and particularly mobile ones like field service technicians — have warmed to the idea of carrying an iPad for work. However, despite some really impressive recent gains for Apple in the enterprise, the fact is that the iPad is far from ubiquitous in field service — a sector with a ton to gain from a slick tablet.
That’s why news that Apple is likely to release an “iPad Mini” should come as a pleasant surprise for field service organizations thinking about dipping their toes into the tablet waters. SAP’s Eric Lai, writing for Forbes, has already called the as-yet-unconfirmed device a potential game-changer for field service. Its smaller size (a screen-size under eight inches, down from the previous 9.7-inch screen) and smaller price tag (rumors are in the neighborhood of $250 compared to $499) should entice both mobile workers who may not need — not want to pay for — a retina display or larger screen.
“At half the price of an iPad — and one-fifth to one-tenth the price of a ruggedized tablet — iPad Minis will be so inexpensive that IT directors won’t be able to resist adopting them for field service work,” Lai wrote.
Beyond size, price and ease of use, the iPad Mini will likely have the iPad 2’s resolution (1024×768) and processor (a dual-core A5 processor), which should mean better battery life. When field service workers are on the road, it’s crucial to have a device that won’t crap out.
So it’s still early to say, but the Mini appears to have the makings of a big hit, and may be the spark that gets field techs to buy in on tablet computing.