On September 9th, Apple held their annual iPhone keynote event where they traditionally announce upgrades to their flagship product. In addition to iPhone news, though, Apple also covered updates to the Apple Watch and a new “iPad Pro” with enterprise class features and productivity enhancements they state have the potential to make life a bit easier for the small business owner. After all, isn’t that really what technology is supposed to do? Let’s take a look at what was announced, and how it could help you be more efficient and maintain your sanity while trying to run a business!

Before getting to the new hardware announcements, Apple touched on the first major software update for their Apple Watch, which will be released next week. This update is aimed at providing application developers more freedom to build apps that run natively on the watch. This can potentially mean new apps built specifically for the Apple Watch that can help business owners (wish list ahead – take note, app developers) manage their schedules, connect with their business partners, and increase their productivity.

One of the applications they demonstrated is designed to allow doctors to view patient vitals and test results right from their wrist. This kind of wearable technology implementation can become increasingly prevalent as technology improves and developers gain more access. Because developers now have a greater ability to design for the Apple Watch specifically, we are likely to see more and more applications designed for individual industries. For example, we could envision applications that could track your supply chain status and alert you to potential delays, that notify you when an employee asks for vacation or a sick day, or that let you know when it’s time to reorder produce for your restaurant. Many small business owners often have to manage many or all aspects of their business concurrently, and wearable technology can help bring information and control right to their wrist.

After discussing the Apple Watch, the focus turned to the iPad tablet line. Apple announced they are releasing an “iPad Pro” directly targeted at corporations and professionals, with a substantially larger screen and ramped up internal power that set it apart from its smaller siblings. The new iPad can be paired with a separately purchased keyboard and advanced stylus (called Apple Pencil) to give professionals more control over the experience. These advances mean that the iPad Pro could be seriously considered as a laptop replacement for the business owner or professional.

In a series of demonstrations showcasing the new iPad Pro’s ability to multitask and crunch heavy processing tasks like dense wireframe renderings, Apple made it clear that they designed this device to appeal to professionals and business owners who demand more performance.

For example, the device is capable of editing and playing back two simultaneous 4K video streams, a demanding job which previously required the computing power of a laptop or desktop computer. Many small business owners handle all promotional aspects for their company, and video can often be a big part of marketing in the modern world. By continuing to develop powerful solutions with an short learning curve, Apple is looking to bring previously impractical or prohibitively expensive features to more people.

Apple also announced its been working with Adobe to bring exclusive applications and features to the new iPad Pro.

Though Apple’s executives certainly highlighted the device’s appeal to creatives, they were also quick to establish its credibility as a business device for users who want to work with more conventional applications. In a surprising move that led to a brief but audible stunned silence from the attendees, Apple revealed that Microsoft has been working with Apple to optimize its Office applications for the new iPad, and invited Kirk Koenigsbauer, the vice president of Microsoft’s Office division, on stage to talk about these advancements. 

Koenigsbauer highlighted multitasking, annotation, and other features that small and large business users alike may benefit from. For making presentations quickly and jotting down feedback on the fly, it’s easy to see how the iPad Pro could fit seamlessly into a business owner’s life.

One thing not mentioned at the event is the potential the new iPad Pro holds for the thousands of small businesses that use tablets as a point of sale solution. Turnkey POS systems featuring the iPad have been around for several years, and it’s a safe bet that the larger screen of the iPad Pro will make it an attractive upgrade for some users. From viewing the full dining room seating layout, to having more items listed on screen at one time, it’s easy to see the advantages this could bring to restaurants and retail stores alike.

Apple stated the new iPad Pro starts at $799 and will be available sometime in November.

Of course, the much anticipated iPhone 6S and 6S+ were also announced. While distinctive advantages for businesses are less pronounced, the new phones do offer a faster user experience, a higher quality camera, and a new touchscreen technology that lets you interact with the screen based on how hard you press, rather than just two dimensional finger swipes.

Finally, for those of you with businesses where entertainment is a key component or if you just want to kick back after a long day of taking care of your company, you may want to check out the new Apple TV. It’s been quite a while since an Apple TV update, so expectations were high. Apple demonstrated a completely new user interface which includes a remote control device with a trackpad to make navigation seamless. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, opined that applications are the future of TV, and Apple proceeded to highlight games, shopping apps, and more from the new device. Sometimes technology that helps maintain sanity and unwind at the end of the day can be just as important to a business owner as the new devices designed for business uses!

Looking for more ways that technology can help make your life as a small business owner a bit easier? Check out our article about how to make invoicing more seamless and painless by combining industry best practices with innovative software.

Photo Credit: Apple and The Verge