After going bigger than ever before with the large iPad Pro last summer, Apple is sizing down for the spring season. The company revealed smaller versions of the iPhone and iPad Pro on Monday in an effort to fill out its lineup with mid-range products with smaller screens, at lower price points.
The 4-inch iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro are expected to ship March 31, with starting prices of $399 and $599, respectively. Both devices include most of the same technologies and components available in Apple's flagship iPhone 6s and 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices, but the iPhone SE comes in a form factor first introduced three and a half years ago with the iPhone 5. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro's screen is the same size as the first iPad's display, and that tablet was introduced in 2010.
What's old is new again for Apple, and that's for good reason; the company says it sold more than 30 million 4-inch iPhones last year, and it hopes the product refresh will continue to attract people who want smaller devices, as well as first time smartphone buyers.
CIOs excited about smaller iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro
The new iPad Pro and iPhone SE drew immediate interest among CIOs and IT administrators who manage iOS devices.
Aaron Gette, CIO of Bay Club, a lifestyle and fitness company, is intrigued by the smaller versions of Apple's most popular devices, and he says the sizes may actually be more appropriate for enterprise users. "It was my understanding that we were always under the guise of smaller, faster, better" and "somehow the [iPhone 6 Plus] became somewhat indistinguishable from the iPad Mini," Gette says. "I don't think the idea of carrying a large phone screen really appeals to the mobile consumer space at large, [and] especially [not] in the enterprise."
However, size aside, Gette doesn't believe the two new devices provide unique benefits for IT professionals or any new enterprise-specific features that aren't already available in Apple's current product lineup. "I think Apple will continue to do what they do well and come straight through the front door of your business," he says.
iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro give IT more options
Many IT leaders initially complained about the size increase from the iPhone 5 to iPhone 6, but almost all of them ended up buying one, according to Gette. "I think there is definitely a demand to return to a smaller, easier to carry version," and Apple is smartly targeting the mid-market tier where much of the growth potential remains, he says. The lower price points of the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro will also help Apple compete in the market for cheaper Android devices, according to Gette.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.