What’s this? The iPad in the news only a few days before Black Friday? Just chalk it up to another genius marketing stroke by Apple.
Today, Apple released the much-anticipated iOS 4.2, which finally brings multitasking, folders, wireless printing with compatible HP eSmart printers, a universal mail inbox, a game center, wireless streaming media with Apple TV, and other great features to the iPad. Of course, iPhones already had many of these capabilities so the OS upgrade is really an iPad bonanza.
While iPad owners have been waiting for iOS 4 to make it to the tablet for months, Apple probably waited until now to excite potential customers. “It makes the product sound a little fresher,” says tech analyst Rob Enderle. “Apple is concerned about other choices people have in Q4.”
As other tech vendors ready tablets for Christmas, Enderle says, Apple needed to make sure the iPad didn’t lose marketing momentum to newcomers during the critical shopping season. According to a new survey from consumer electronic shopping site Retrevo, though, Apple doesn’t seem to have a lot to worry about—iPad mindshare is still skyrocketing.
Retrevo surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers about their plans for the holiday spending spree, as well as top picks on their wish list, and found that the iPad ranked highest, followed by a laptop, HDTV set, Kindle or e-reader, and an iPod or MP3 player, and other tech gadgets.
CIOs should also be cheering the arrival of iOS 4.2 on the iPad.
The iPad, which had been running iOS 3.2, gets some enterprise-class features, such as multitasking and the ability to set up multiple Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync accounts. With the latter, you can wirelessly sync, for instance, a work calendar running on an Exchange server and a personal Google calendar. Apple’s calendar app also lets you respond to event invites. Most importantly, iOS 4.2 brings wireless app distribution and other device management capabilities to the iPad.
While iOS 4.2 for the iPad is good news for the enterprise, Enderle says, many CIOS will no doubt temper their enthusiasm and take a wait-and-see approach before buying scores of iPads. “I met with a bunch of CIOs last week, and they’re keeping the iPad out,” he says. “They’re waiting for third parties to remotely manage and secure iPads, which I think will happen in the first half of next year.”
Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Networking for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Kaneshige has been covering business and technology in Silicon Valley for two decades. As senior online writer at CIO.com, Tom covers Silicon Valley culture, BYOD and consumer tech in the enterprise.