Apple hits a home run with deal to bring iPad Pro to MLB dugouts


MLB is embracing another Apple innovation.
Photo: Andrei Niemimäki/Flickr CC

Apple has signed a multi-year deal with Major League Baseball that will give an iPad Pro to coaching staff — so that they can easily access performance data, weigh up possible pitcher-hitter matchups, analyze where a player is likely to hit the ball, and even look up videos from previous games.

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

The Apple deal coincides with the lifting of a ban on teams using laptops and mobile devices in dugouts.

Teams will be equipped with the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as opposed to the smaller 9.7-inch models unveiled at Apple’s keynote event last week. Each iPad Pro will be fitted with a rugged case sporting the league’s logo, and a custom app called MLB Dugout, built with assistance from Apple.

The data available on the iPads will be proprietary to each team, as opposed to part of a league-wide database accessible by all. At first, app data will be pre-loaded before each game, although this will hopefully change to real-time data streams in the future.

Apple and MLB haven’t disclosed the details of the deal, but it comes off the back of a $400-million, four-year agreement between the National Football League and Microsoft for the NFL to use the Microsoft Surface. However, unlike that deal — which stipulates that the Surface must be visible on the sideline during every game — MLB is making use of the iPad Pro optional.

This isn’t the first time MLB has embraced Apple innovations. In 2013, MLB installed iBeacons at 20 U.S. ballparks last year to offer iOS-using spectators point-of-interest mapping and other relevant contextual information. The following year, a deal was struck which added Apple Pay to several MLB stadiums in time for the 2014 World Series.

Let’s hope that, unlike the NFL’s sometimes disastrous deal with Microsoft, Apple’s MLB agreement doesn’t strike out on a sour note!

Source: WSJ

  • A-thought

    Cultofmac, seriously.. Have you no shame? It is well known that the NFL issue you reference here was a network cable, not the surface tablets. The exact same issue would’ve happened with iPads.

    Are you seriously that desperate to champion Apple that you will mislead with a story that was admitted by the NFL to be a network cable issue in order to try to make the competition look bad?

    Incredibly immature, not to mention deceptive.

    • TJ

      Well, it was well known that Microsoft claimed in was a network cable. iPads don’t need ethernet cables to work. They have this thing call a cellular radio in them. Coupled with the ability to fall back on that when the wifi goes out, I’d say the problem certainly was that the Surface doesn’t know how to deal with that outage with the wifi radio on. Ctrl-Alt-Delete, oh wait that brings me to the login screen. Who the hell thought THAT was a good idea! How do I reboot this thing? Anyone here a microsoft certified idiot?

      • A-thought

        Correction to your first statement: the NFL confirmed it was a network cable. Let’s be clear.

        NFL uses a secured system and secured wifi (no open-ended communications) for obvious reasons. The network cable didn’t allow the photo information to transfer on the back end systems so that the photos were available, so there was no data for the wifi tablet to access. (This was the case for one team, not both).

        Anyone with basic understanding of client-server knows that if the server ain’t feeding data, the client (the tablet in this case, regardless of what logo appears on the back) ain’t gonna show anything.

        If you’re going to slap something down, at least don’t reveal you’re ignorant of the facts. Looks pretty bad.

  • Demonstr8r

    Nice win for Apple, but wouldn’t the 9.7″ iPad Pro be better suited for the dugout?

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