I have to admit that, as a small business owner myself, I am very excited by the recent announcement of the new iPad (they’ve eliminated the use of numbers now), the successor to the iPad2. It’s clear that Apple is gunning for the PC market, such that they’ve stopped talking about a “tablet market” and are just referring to the iPads place in a “PC Market” where the iPad is only a single player, albeit a dominant one. There really isn’t a single player in the current technology market who shouldn’t be shaking in their shoes right now. The iPad alone accounted for more sales last quarter than Dell’s entire line of PCs, and HP’s, and Lenovo’s, and every other single player. What’s more, Microsoft depends on the Office suite for 70% of its revenue, and while the Office Professional suite retails for something like $499, guess what the most popular competitor app on the iPad (Quickoffice) retails for? $20! Bloggers who are making that connection are predicting a serious haircut for Microsoft. Finally, even Google stands to lose considering that they make their money on advertising and a larger percentage of their customers will be surfing the web on a device made by a hostile competitor.
I personally have resisted going to the Mac for my business, mainly due to the fact that they used to be relatively expensive relative to some very decent competition. Why spend $2500 on a Macbook when you could get equivalent performance for $600 or $700 in a PC? In the interim, however, two things happened. First, the price of a decent Macbook has come down so that we might only spend, say, $1200 on a really nice (and light) machine. iPads are even cheaper. The second thing is that we have moved most of our operation to the web (or the cloud). All of our shared files reside on a cloud drive from Egnyte, our CRM system is a hosted SugarCRM instance, and our primary application is available over the web (and the servers all run Ubuntu Linux). Frankly, I just don’t need that much power in my PC anymore. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about the retina display, it’s the 4G LTE modem that got my attention.
I can envision a scenario where our salespeople all use iPads that double as their main computer. They can access all of the customer records in SugarCRM, they can enter data in the application over the web (I may just make an app for that) and they can view all their files on the Egnyte drive. Our developers can all use the recycled laptops because all of their work is done on the Linux server (using a nifty tool call Notepad++). Heck, I can even give managers iPads (because managers need toys for some reason) and they can still be productive on the shared drive. I will definitely be spending a LOT less on Microsoft Office.
Maybe Windows 8 can stop the freight train, I don’t know. Of course, how many people still own a Zune?