Apple in the Office: iDevices Moving Into the Enterprise

By | Jan 30, 2012

New research shows that Apple's computers and devices are becoming more and more pervasive in corporate life. While Windows still has a dominating lead, the specifics about which employees are turning toward Apple products could be a big sign of how this market will shift in the coming years.

Apple in the Office

Forrester Research recently released the results of its latest survey, which covered 10,000 information workers from around the world, and the results can only be considered a win for the tech giant from Cupertino. As this Engadget article points out, over a fifth of the respondents say they already use Apple devices in the workplace. Of course, these numbers include Apple's extremely popular iPhone and iPad devices, but those aren't the only pro-Apple numbers from this survey.

As noted in this Tuscon Citizen article, 85 percent of corporate computers still run on Windows, but that lead may be slowly eroding. Last year, 46 percent of surveyed companies in North America and Europe claimed that they planned to issue Macs to employees, and 30 percent of workplaces offer employee technical support covering Macs as well as PCs.

Paradigm Shift

While the information about companies shifting toward Apple products is interesting, the most important aspects of the Forrester survey may be the demographics. Employees most likely to use Apple products on the job tend to be younger, have a higher rank, and make more money. These results probably come from management and executive-level employees using their iPhone or iPad for work, but they could portend a larger change on the horizon.

Highly place, highly skilled employees are usually the first to adopt new technologies and often act as a bellwether for future IT trends. Add in the fact that younger employees are much more likely to choose a Mac over a PC, and there could be a huge change on the horizon. Some industry analysts have already noticed Apple hiring people with skill in building and maintaining business relationships, proving that the company has seen these trends as well.

Apple Products and IT

For IT pros at midsize businesses, the surge in Apple products for business uses means that additional application and support responsibilities may be on the horizon. Many IT departments are in the process of developing solutions to allow Apple's iPhones and iPads, along with Android-based tablets, to be used securely in the workplace, but the proliferation of Apple devices may mean some larger changes are coming in the near future.

As people get more comfortable with Apple's mobile devices, they will be much more likely to adopt Apple's computers as well. This comes not just from brand recognition, but the seamless way the products are designed to interoperate. As more and more college students enter the workforce with a computing history that is almost exclusively Mac-based, companies will be pressured to adopt Mac-friendly policies, just like they are currently under pressure to support consumer-grade smartphones and tablets.

Some will still choose to ignore these realities, focusing on Windows' 85-percent corporate market share as a reason to ignore other operating systems, but the signs are clear. Macs are making their way into the corporate world, and unless Microsoft successfully reacts to their own failings in the consumer market, these numbers will only be more pronounced in the near future. Look to the BlackBerry, a device that just a few years ago was synonymous with business, to see how quickly a dominating market share can fall in the face of innovation.

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