While I’ll agree it’s an easy prediction to make that any Apple product will move a huge number of units, or that it will “revolutionize” some market segment, or even be the latest thing since sliced bread, I think it is fair to say that the iPad mini will become the BYOD choice for most offices. The iPad mini has the perfect form factor and is the perfect size for UCC tools.
The iPad mini was a rumor for a long time, because it’s the size that people wanted. It’s large enough to read a fax with, large enough to videoconference with, and small enough to fit in a coat pocket. That means, simply, that it will go from place to place. The iPad is a comfortable size, but may be a bit too large to bring with you every day to and from work. The iPhone, is, of course, amazing, but anything small enough to fit in your pocket has a screen too small to read for extended periods of time.
The iPad Mini is designed, much like the small Amazon Kindle, so that you can hold it in your hand and read, much like a paperback book. This makes it the perfect size for reading important business documents on the go. As you can see in the promotional videos, Apple expects you to simply thumb through the virtual pages. The truth is, you don’t have to be on the go. By making a form factor that resembles a book, it can absolutely make reading easier on your eyes and your back to sit back in a chair rather than lean in on a computer screen. If there’s glare, you can simply shift, or adjust a light, which is something you can’t easily do with a computer monitor.
Another great thing about the iPad mini is how great it will be for video conferencing. Apple has its own proprietary software, Facetime, which will work well enough, but as we see developers get their hands on it, I think it’s likely that the iPad mini will grow into its own separate tool as part of a UCC suite of tools. The iPad mini may be used to send and receive documents, show a virtual slideshow presentation, or show a different angle of the presenter. All of these ideas don’t even involve the camera at all.
Because the iPad mini is small enough to fit in your pocket, and because it’s less expensive than its full-sized counterpart, it’s likely to be adopted by businesses to give to their employees as a perk. The original iPad is far from clunky, but compared to the iPhone or the new iPad mini, it’s less practical to bring back and forth to and from home every day. The iPad mini is the perfect size to get work done at the office and at home, and it’s small enough to stash anywhere when it’s time to get to work.
The iPad mini is likely to become another screen on the desktop, along with the computer monitor and the screen on the IP phone. It’s also entirely possible that the average desk may have two but not three, and maybe the computer will be the one to go. I can see small offices sharing phones and sharing iPads connected to the phones, with laptop computers way on the other side of the office. With or without video, the iPad mini will probably be comparable to a heads up display.
The biggest obstacle I see to adoption is Apple’s walled-garden approach, which stands in stark contrast to Google Android’s platform. If you want to make an Android VoIP desk phone, the platform is wide open, and many hardware manufacturers have done just that. Apple has pretty strict licensing rules, but they are open-minded about allowing secondary market docks and cases. So, it stands to reason that an Apple Desk Phone will be a specialized docking device for the iPhone, iPad Mini, or full sized iPad. The new Thunderbolt connection may help or hinder adoption. That remains to be seen. But what is definitely sure is that competition is good. If the iPad doesn’t do it, then Google, Amazon, or Microsoft will. That, I submit, is always good for business.