Despite the mostly positive financial news from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), the one weakness that gets a lot of press is the decrease in iPad sales. For the first quarter of 2015, sales were down 16 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.
There is speculation about overlap with the iPhone 6 Plus and the 12-inch Mac, plus various Android and Surface competitors. Does this mean the iPad is going away? I don’t believe so. Despite the sales drop, Apple still sells 12 to 20 million iPads a quarter and they are very profitable. I would argue that the primary reason iPad sales are not growing is because the iPad life cycle is longer than the iPhone. I still have the same iPad 3 in the time I’ve had three different iPhones.
From a business-user perspective, the iPad has the ideal size, weight and battery life for being productive on the road – or even down the hall in a conference room. Apple CEO Tim Cook says he uses his iPad for 80 percent of his work. The problem most business users have is that many work applications are Windows-based, not touch-based iOS apps. Many organizations use Citrix Systems for centralizing the Windows work apps and remotely accessing the user interface to PCs, Macs or iPads. This works great for security and manageability. The problem with iPads has been that without a mouse, the user experience of using Windows apps is lacking.
The new Citrix X1 Mouse (developed in Fort Lauderdale) is the first mouse to support iPads and iPhones. The initial feedback has been very positive. Many business users say this will dramatically improve their productivity and allow them to leave the laptop at home. The X1 Mouse does not work with every app, but it does provide a great experience by accessing over a million Windows apps via XenApp, XenDesktop, GoToMyPC and ShareConnect.
Is a mouse for the iPad enough to turn the iPad’s sales decline around? Not likely. But will it make millions of business users happy and more productive? So far, the results are promising. ?
Chris Fleck is on the board of the South Florida Technology Alliance and vice president of mobility systems and alliances for Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS), a Fort Lauderdale company that provides secure remote access to data and applications.