Apple Hits Home Run With MLB iPad Pro Deal

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Major League Baseball gets iPad Pro boost along with new smart apps

America’s national pastime is to receive a technological upgrade following a deal between Major League Baseball (MLB) and Apple that will see the latter’s devices available in every dugout across the American and National Leagues.

Starting with the first round of games this weekend, each MLB team will be provided with Apple’s iPad Pro, equipped with a sturdy MLB-branded case, as the sport lifts its ban on electronic devices including smartphones, laptops and tablets, in the dugout.

Each team will be offered the use of the 12.9 inch devices, although they are not mandatory, which will have their own personalised data preloaded onto the tablets before each game.

This will be included in a custom app called MLB Dugout, built by MLB’s New York-based Advanced Media division, with assistance from Apple, which will provides coaches with statistics and analytics on both the current game as well as past matches.

Play ball

ipadpro1“I started in this game 25 years ago and the single biggest change has been the emergence and predominance of analytics,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “It affects the way we judge players, make decisions on the field and the way fans consume the game.”

“We’re not just replacing binders with tablets, we’re actually helping them do things that weren’t possible before”, said Apple’s head of marketing Phil Schiller.

Apple will be hoping the iPad fares better in baseball than Microsoft’s Surface Pro devices, which have been used in the National Football League (NFL) over the past few seasons to help coaches and players with setting up plays and other tactics.

However the NFL had to issue an embarrassing note to commentators who continued calling the devices ‘iPads’ following a complaint from Microsoft, which reportedly paid up to $400m for the partnership. What price Apple paid for the MLB deal, if any, has not been revealed.

Starting at £679 in the UK, the iPad Pro was first revealed back in September, and combining a 5.6 million pixel display and 64-bit A9X chip. A 9.7 inch device was shown off at an event in California last week.

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