CEBIT exhibitors see opportunity in new iPad

HANNOVER, Germany – Apple may be appealing directly to the consumer market with the release of the new iPad on Wednesday, but at the IT industry’s largest trade fair, a slew of vendors are seeing increased opportunities on the tablet platform for business users.

Deep inside the fairgrounds at CEBIT, taking place here over the course of this week, an area called OSX Park has been set up to showcase some of the companies that have based their business around the commercial uses of iPads and related Apple products. While expectations around the new iPad were predictably high, however, they remain focused on the iPad 2 until more information and products become available.

Inside the new iPad

A good example is Waldorf, Germany-based Heidelberg Mobile, an application developer that focuses on a very specific niche in the business space: conference and events. For example, Heidelberg Mobile makes an app that not only allows event organizers to categorize information about different exhibitors, products and booth maps, for something the size of CEBIT – where there are more than 4,200 vendors on display – it can create detailed tracking on where the shuttle bus routes that take attendees from one hall to another are at any given time.

“Yes, there will be huge impact (from the new iPad launch),” said Mirija Cuntz, sponsoring manager at Heidelberg Mobil, adding that the buzz around the device is sure to spur increased demand for its products. “It will be interesting to see how it develops.”

Juwi MacMillan Group GmbH, meanwhile, has created a line of iPad applications aimed at sales managers, health-care professionals but also offers tools for event organizers. In Juwi MacMillan’s case, a chat app acts much like Twitter, allowing attendees to send questions in real time directly to the iPad of a speaker making a presentation.

Daniel Holze, Juwi MacMillan’s marketing and sales manager, said a sizeable portion of the company’s installed base continues to use the first iPad, though the new model could offer some benefits.

“We can do larger pulls from our database if the processor is faster,” he said, which could improve the performance of some of its tools.

Not everyone in the Apple ecosystem gets to cash in on the new iPad hype, however, A good example of CEBIT is DatSec, a German firm which creates anti-virus and malware for Mac products. “We cannot develop for the iPad because Apple won’t let us,” said Michael Spies, the company’s retail channel manager. “It’s a different operating system. We have the same issue with the iPhone.” This is unfortunate, he added, considering that malware attacks will likely hit more new iPad users as its market share in the tablet space increases.

This, of course, depends a little on how quickly users will get the devices. Dr. Bott, a distributor of Apple products that has offices in the U.S., is expecting major sales but couldn’t estimate on when channel partners or retails would begin offering them.

“Everyone is interested in the iPad,” said Jens Dietrich, a partner at Dr. Bott, “but they don’t give us any information.”

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