Analysts don’t see Apple iPad Pro taking big bite out of Indian enterprise pie

From the demos and the presence of Microsoft touting its productivity applications like Office 360 and Adobe with Photoshop, it was clear that Apple's big iPad Pro announcement was about business users. Thus far, the iPad was seen as a content consumption device, but Apple clearly wants to transform it into a content creation device and a possible laptop replacement.

The iPad Pro will cost $799 (approximately Rs 53,500, though with taxes and customs levies, actual India pricing may be much higher).  It comes with the stylus called Apple Pencil (which is sold separately at $99 -- approximately Rs 6,600) and a dedicated Smart keyboard for $169 (approximately Rs 11,300). When combined with the keyboard and the Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro can cost more than the MacBook Air in some cases.

But will  the $799 iPad Pro make inroads into the Indian enterprise? Many Indian CXOs already use iPads, many of them company-issue ones. But iPads aren't very common at middle and lower levels. Will the iPad Pro change that and bring in more Indian enterprise users? According to analysts, pleasing Indian businesses won't be a cake walk for the Cupertino-based personal technology giant. When it comes to the Indian enterprises, Apple will have to struggle on the price front, besides other challenges.

"Apple is making a conscious effort to try and penetrate the enterprise. However, when it comes to the Indian market, the price point is still high. Even if Apple gets in EMI schemes to sell the iPad Pro, I don’t see it impacting the Indian enterprise market significantly," says Vishal Tripathi, research director, Gartner India.

 Analysts don’t see Apple iPad Pro taking big bite out of Indian enterprise pie

Source: Apple

Jaideep Mehta, managing director, IDC South Asia, agrees. "In India cost is always a driving factor. I don’t think iPad Pro is going to be a game-changer in India. It will only happen if they can create a package around total cost of ownership."

But Greyhound Research CEO Sanchit Gogia has a slightly different take, though he too doesn't believe the iPad Pro will be widely accepted. He argues that price cannot be a driving factor in the enterprise. "Nobody is going to buy this kind of product just looking at cost, but it will be bought based on functionality or purpose," he explains.

A keyboard accessory, larger screen, support for CAD software, etc, are pluses. Users can also run multiple apps in enterprise scenarios. But at the same time, Gogia points out that the market for iPad Pro would be still a restricted one because the tablet market itself is a dying one. "Apple iPad Pro may find takers in design houses, export houses, the hospitality sector, or where they need to process electronic documentation," he explains. Mehta also suggests that Apple might end up capturing some niche markets such as design-oriented firms with architects, interior decorators and so on.

But the biggest issue is not just price. Apple will face a massive Android challenge in India.

"Today, when organisations are taking to enterprise mobility initiatives, neither Apple or Microsoft are winning, but it’s actually Android that is winning the most. There's no doubt about the fact that Android comes with security concerns, but evidence suggests that companies are willing to bear with that, and willing to invest separately in security. The reality is the platform is free, the associated ecosystem of devices –whether smartphones or tablets, and the price points of the hardware are much lower," IDC's Mehta explains.

There are many courier and logistics firms, banks and financial sector companies in India which have adopted the Android platform for their salesforce automation and mobility. Mehta sees cost first, and after that, the ecosystem of apps available in India as major reasons why Android is winning in the Indian enterprise scenario. "iPad Pro is not going to change this dynamic," he insists.

"When you think of salesforce automation--a pharma companies for instance that wants to get 7,000 people on a mobile platform, then the overall cost of the ecosystem becomes the driving factor. And, in India cost is always a major factor. Apple should not be worried about Microsoft, but more worried about how they can overcome the Android challenge," Mehta concludes.

Gogia sums up, "There will be certain use cases, there are areas where Apple will do better, there might be some applications that perform better on Apple compared to other mobile environments. But, all in all iPad Pro will not be big enough to displace others in the Indian enterprise scenario."

Updated Date: Sep 14, 2015 11:41:43 IST