Ahead of today's Apple earnings announcement — whatever the sales for last year's models — all the gossip is about company's "plans" for larger iPhone and iPad devices, as its enterprise and worker battle with Android and Windows Phones heats up. Are competitors poised to take a bite from Apple?
Or will Apple's expected larger-screens satisfy an insatiable mobile marker — and even help improve productivity? What more can Apple do to drive its presence in the enterprise as Intel's Android Device Protection Technology drive starts up, with CIOs becoming increasingly concerned about mobile security? And, with Microsoft's wide-ranging enterprise play, can the revamping of iWorks help it become an enterprise winner?
Apple About to Climb Again?
For the record, Apple reports earnings this afternoon when the US market closes. The conference call is scheduled for 2 p.m. PST/5 p.m. EST and you can listen to the audio webcast here.
Estimates from analysts suggest Apple is about to report some $58 billion in revenue over the first fiscal quarter of 2014, bucking its recent trend of negative earnings growth. Once the hoopla calms down, with the usual barrage of hyperbole and ludicrous over-analysis, the company can focus on the business in hand: the evolution of its iOS product line.
Tim Cook's closing words for 2013 were "We have a lot to look forward to in 2014, including some big plans that we think our customers will love." But with Android making up ground in the enterprise and Microsoft likely to stage a mobile comeback, it's important business for Apple to focus on as the consumer market levels out.
There have been positive signs for Apple across all of its devices, with the halo effect from iPhone and iPad helping drive Mac sales to business users. Forrester reckons Apple could take 11 percent of the enterprise PC/tablet space by 2015. It also sees more than 21 percent of information workers using Apple products. However, since Cook's comments were about as close to early information as you can get from Apple, we turn to those with their ears to the ground of Apple's testing facilities for hints on what's to come.
Word from there is that the company is testing larger iPhone (likely with 4.5-inch and 5-inch displays) and a larger iPad model. If launched — which is purely speculation — they would see it better able to compete with the hugely successful phablets from Samsung and, to a lesser extent, the big format tablets offered by Dell and others.
What's the Business Benefit?
A larger iPhone will be of interest to many workers. If it's in the phablet-size range, then they can carry one device instead of both a phone and a tablet. With complaints growing about the iPhone's small screen size compared to its ever-growing rivals, a larger model would boost the types and amount of work that could be performed and reduce the cost to the business ... excluding bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives.