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Are the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro too small for business users?

As Apple announced several new devices at its March media event, the staff of TechTarget’s End-User Computing Media Group took to Slack and discussed the company’s new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Alyssa Wood, senior managing editor: The iPhone SE, a new 4-inch phone with the power of the 6s really seems odd to me. Why did they start making bigger phones, only to go back to the smaller ones with the same processing power? Is this backlash against bigger phones from the likes of Samsung?

Colin Steele, editorial director: They’re trying to remove the stigma of the smaller phones being less powerful and having fewer features.

Jamison Cush, executive editor: There is a market for smaller smartphones that Android device makers just aren’t addressing.

Eddie Lockhart, assistant site editor: It feels like change for change’s sake.

Colin: Apple’s last attempt at budget phones didn’t go well at all, and a lot of it had to do with those phones looking like cheap knock-offs. This seems like a reboot that’s more in line with the rest of the iPhone portfolio.

Alyssa: Is the 4-inch better or worse for enterprise use cases? I’d think some scenarios would do better with the larger screen and more battery life.

Jamison: 16 GB is just not enough for a phone that shoots 4k video and takes Live Photos. Good luck editing a spreadsheet on it.

Colin: The only real work most people do on iPhones is checking email, so screen size shouldn’t really matter there. And the price point will be appealing in overseas markets where traditional iPhones are too expensive.

Ramin Edmond, news writer: If you are an organization supplying phones to your employees, you may look at the cheaper model too.

Jamison: This [9.7-inch iPad Pro] is odd. Either it’s a more powerful iPad or a smaller iPad Pro.

Colin: The only important differentiating features of the original iPad Pro were its screen size, the stylus and the keyboard cover. So a smaller iPad Pro is really just an iPad Air 2 with a stylus and keyboard cover.

Erin Dale, site editor: This is the first I’ve heard that the majority of iPad [Pro] customers are converts from PCs.

Jerry Jackson, managing editor: The reason that people are still using so many old PCs is that old PCs still run most of the latest applications for Windows. Try running the latest iOS apps on the original iPad or iPad 2. If Apple wants to replace PCs with iPads, then it needs to make iOS apps that run on all iPads, not just the latest generations.

Jamison: Apple’s challenge is that it’s competing with a product that is becoming a commodity. Android tablets now cost less than $100. Windows tablets can be had for less than $200. In terms of what you can actually do on those cheaper devices, it’s not much different than the iPad.

Ramin: That’s why they are trying to go after the PC market. [But] if you were going to get an iPad Pro to replace your PC, you’d need the 256 GB model.

Alyssa: What are everyone’s final thoughts?

Ramin: I actually thought they’d come out with a new Apple Watch, not just new bands on it. I also thought they might refresh the MacBooks.

Jamison: There was half an event here. All the announcements are decent and push the product line forward, but there was nothing new overall — no new tech, nothing that is going to make rival device makers nervous.

Alyssa: It’s devices that are the same size as things they have already had in the past. We’ll have to see if this is something customers truly want. Perhaps we really are seeing the end of “how big can we go” with mobile device screens.

Jerry: The phones in the iPhone line all offer essentially the same functionality now. That’s big.

Colin: Apple is a legacy tech vendor at this point. They make a few devices that are very successful, and most “new” releases are going to be incremental upgrades or slight variations in size or form factor like we saw here. That’s why Apple is so focused on the enterprise market these days, because it represents an area where they can actually grow.