It's slimmer and faster, but whether that's enough for Apple Inc.'s new iPads to bowl over advisers is an open question.
“Yawn,” said financial adviser David J. O'Brien, reacting to the devices that Apple executives announced Tuesday. “For some, these two new items may be enough to replace a two-year-old or older iPad, but that's all.”
Apple announced a new $499 version of its iPad, called the iPad Air, which weighs 1 pound and is 7.5 millimeters thick, while it upgraded its smaller tablet, the $399 iPad Mini, with a higher-resolution screen.
Bill Winterberg, a technology consultant to advisers, said an upgrade was only worthwhile to advisers using the first and second iterations of the product, which can be slow when using Apple's latest mobile operating system. (Read Mr. Winterberg's full take on the new iPad.)
“You pick up quite a bit of power and speed,” Mr. Winterberg said.
Josh Bohlander, vice president of adviser technology for Raymond James Financial, who owns an original iPad, said he plans to upgrade. And the new iPad's faster A7 processor means faster access to client data for his firm's advisers, he said.
Nearly a quarter of Raymond James' corps of advisers use tablets every day for a wide variety of services, including financial planning and accessing clients' investment portfolios.
“For a lot of advisers it has become an essential tool – it's something that has allowed them to become more mobile,” he said. “Most of them view it as a productivity tool that can provide entertainment when they want it.”
But tablet devices, which some research suggests will be sold in greater quantities than PCs within the next two years, need more functionality before they can be seen as a replacement for desktops and laptops, he said.
In the meantime, many advisers will see them as a tool used for short trips and in client meetings to display performance reports and financial plans, said Timothy D. Welsh, president of Nexus Strategy LLC and consultant to advisers.
An increasing number of software and web-based applications aimed at advisers look good and work well on iPads, which Mr. Welsh said will drive the perception that they are a “must have” item.
Both new products are slated to ship in November.