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MLB coaches to get better access to data thanks to Apple iPad Pro deal

Apple has struck a deal with Major League Baseball to put 12.9-inch iPad Pros into the dugouts at games.

The move will give coaches access to performance stats, videos of plays from previous games as well as player matchups and more.

Reported by The Wall Street Journal, the deal puts tablets into the hands of MLB coaches for the first time. Previously, laptops, smartphones and tablets were banned. However, a recent change to the rules has paved the way for the deal.

The iPads, which will be supplied to every team in the league, will come with their own special cases to provide protection. They will come with a custom app titled ‘MLB Dugout’ – the creation of the app is a collaboration between MLB’s media division and Apple.

The deal is similar to Microsoft’s with the NFL. That deal ensured Microsoft’s Surface tablets were used prominently during football games. The difference with this deal is that the use of iPads is optional, not required to be visible from the sidelines as per the Microsoft deal.

Amusingly, it was reported early on in that deal that commentators would still refer to the Surface tablets as ‘iPads’. At least the MLB commentators are unlikely to face a similar problem.

Apple’s senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller informed the WSJ: “We’re not just replacing binders with tablets, we’re actually helping them do things that weren’t possible before.”