The mobile enterprise may have some new gadgets to play with soon.
Apple is preparing to launch its new line of iPads this fall and has already put them under mass production, according to Bloomberg.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company will launch a 9.7-inch iPad in the late-third-early-fourth quarter, before launching a 7.9-inch iPad mini by year's end, the report said.
Related: IDC: Top 5 Tablet Vendors In Q2
Apple could use a boost in its tablet sales numbers, as they've fallen for two consecutive quarters, according to IDC. This is the first time Apple has seen a drop in its iPad sales since the product was first announced in 2010.
Company CEO Tim Cook revealed during his earnings call last month that the slumping iPad sales were the reason for Apple's partnership with IBM.
"We think there is a substantial upside in business, and this was one of the thinkings behind the partnership with IBM that we announced last week," Cook said during the Q&A portion of the July 22 earnings call. "We think that the core thing that unleashes this is a better go-to-market, which IBM clearly brings to the table, but even more importantly, apps that are written with MobileFirst in mind."
Company executives see enterprise mobility as a rapidly growing, yet competitive, market for Apple and IBM to delve into together. For Apple, it could be key in turning those dipping iPad sales back around.
"What we see inside our enterprise customers around the world is that smartphones and tablets are growing at a very rapid rate," Bob Tinker, CEO of enterprise mobility management leader MobileIron, told CRN in a call last week. "Those smartphones and tablets are iOS, Android and Windows. We see that happening across the board, so we see diversity increasing from inside our customers."
Apple sees its devices being backed by IBM services and solutions, including over 100 customized apps built by IBM, as a big draw for enterprise customers, making the iPad, the leader in worldwide tablet market share, according to IDC, even bigger.
In addition to a less glossy display, as reported by Bloomberg, partners are hopeful that business-friendly features will be added to the iPad in addition to what IBM may have to offer.
"Security comes first and most important. Security is always a big discussion point," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at SIGMAnet, an Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider and Apple partner. "I think the apps will be behind the next launch in innovation and the next spike in growth, so I believe this helps. Touch ID would be helpful for security authentication purposes."
Next: Apple Partners Hope For Touch ID On The iPad