Mobile computing progresses forward with Apple's new iPads and Apps

    Apple changed the way people interact with technology. And this is no small task for the up and coming generation who no longer remembers a workplace without it. According to the Network of Executive Women, Millennials will represent 75 percent of the U.S. workforce within 15 years.

    Continuing to fully embrace their new vision for mobile computing, Apple announced new iPads today – the mini with retina display and the iPad Air, weighing in at just one pound (making it the lightest full-size table in the world).

    Tim Cook took to the stage before the big reveal to poke fun at those who had issued some stinging rebukes of “why would anyone use this” upon the initial launch of the device three and a half years ago. They have since sold 170 million of the devices. "This is an incredible number. I can't think of any other product that has come so far, so fast," Cook said.

    Even those initial doubters are now marketing tablets, but iPad users are still the lion’s share of the bunch with 81 percent of usage share, per Apple. There are now 475,000 apps designed specifically for the iPad. (Including ShoreTel Mobility.) The Cupertino company claims they’ve achieved that top spot in customer satisfaction because the iPad combines hardware, software and services into an experience others can’t match.

    And with that, Apple showed its stripes around a more services oriented strategy. It’s all about the apps.

    According to Cook, there have been 60 billion downloads from the App Store and developers have earned over $13 billion.

    Apple release iOS 7 for mobile devices back at WWDC. And after just five days 200 million devices were running the new operating system – proof of success from an easy update path. Today, Apple announced the new OSX, Mavericks. And for the first time a major OS X upgrade is free – in a single step update, regardless of what system you’re currently running. (It is downloading in the background as I write this.)

    There have also been some major updates to the iLife and iWork apps. Additionally, they are also free with purchase of new Mac or iOS device. And all available today. But it is the apps ability to transfer seamlessly between devices that demonstrate Apple’s understanding of how people work – moving fluidly around locations and devices throughout the day.

    iWork was completely rewritten to reflect more of the iOS 7 capabilities. It has full file compatibility so you can open your documents on any device and a cleaner, simpler UI. You can share iWork documents with any Mac or iOS device; the viewing device doesn't have to have iWork installed, which is a fabulous added benefit when people are attempting to work between disparate systems.

    And, in a final dig to Microsoft, Apple has added collaboration to iWork for iCloud. This appears a direct strike at Office 365 – most noticeably with the strategy to make the apps free – but also now places Apple in competition with the very popular Google Docs.

    It’s a whole new services world, and one we cannot afford to ignore. The methods and means of communication and collaboration are continuing to evolve and we’re really looking forward to the adventure.

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