Apple takes iPad Pros out to the ball game with MLB contract

While tech companies have little to do directly with sports, they have never missed a beat getting their brands or even their products into the field. From uniforms to team sponsorships to actual product placements, these companies are doing everything they can to capitalize on this billion dollar business. The latest to do so is Apple and it is making an odd but not totally unheard of partnership. Inking a multi-year deal with the MLB, Apple will be equipping every baseball team with iPad Pros to help them upgrade their gameplan and, consequently, upgrade their game as well.

Although still not as common as notebooks, ring binders, and whiteboards, tablets are no longer a rare sight in sports. Mobile devices had the advantage of being able to present more data at a moment's notice, review videos, and change plans on the fly.

The iPad Pros that will be provided to teams will come with a rugged casing, each displaying the teams' logos. No mention of the Apple Pencil, though it might not be an appropriate accessory in this instance. The highlight of the tablet, however, will be the Dugout out developed together by MLB's Advanced Media division and Apple. Data in the app will be proprietary to each team, instead of coming from a common database, and will be preloaded at the start of each game.

The partnership will most likely remind industry observers of a similar deal between Microsoft and the NFL. That one involved the use of Surface tablets, which ended up with rather comical results. Aside from random complaints of software glitches, sports commentators kept referring to Microsoft's tablets as "iPads". At least MBL commentators won't run the risk of making that mistake. Unless, of course, they start calling them Surfaces.

While the NFL requires Microsoft's Surface tablets be visible in the sidelines during games, the MLB isn't imposing anything similar. Use of the iPad Pros are completely optional but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred believes the tablets will be quite popular and will be in heavy use.

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal