Research firm IDG on Monday published a new survey called “iPad for Business 2012,” showing that the iPad is anything but a fad as far as big business is concerned. The global survey, available as a downloadable PDF document, noted that 91 percent of businesses that deployed iPads are using the device primarily for work, even if only approximately a quarter of issued devices were supplied as a corporate tool. Consumers and pros alike both use the device for media consumption, which in the case of the latter is predominantly text-based and work-related.
IT and business professionals certainly use their iPads at home. But unlike most consumers, they also use their devices in a similarly intensive way at work. In a further, decisive, break with consumer usage patterns, IT and business professionals use their devices on the road far more frequently than anywhere else.
Some 79 percent of IT professionals “always” use the iPads on the move and 59 percent “always” or “sometimes” use the device in offline mode. Road use usually entails planes, trains, automobiles, hotel lobbies, coffee shops, conference halls and meeting rooms, IDG noted, even though only 40 percent of iPads sold incorporate 3G connectivity.
More than three-quarters of polled workers use the iPads to browse the web, and 76 percent of pros said they “always” use iPads to read content. Meanwhile, 73 percent opted for news consumption and more than half— or 54 percent— use it for work communication. Some 79 percent tap into the iPad on the move and 54 percent use it at home. Social media, personal communication and entertainment follow with 44 percent, 42 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
The iPad hasn’t prompted the majority of IT and business profes- sionals to abandon any other device. Only 12% say that their iPad has “completely” replaced their laptop. Just 6% say it has supplanted their PC.
However, the iPad is taking over many tasks traditionally assigned to notebooks. For example, nearly three-quarters of businesses—or 72 percent— said they were using their notebooks less often because of Apple’s tablet. For approximately one in six businesses worldwide replaced their notebooks entirely for the iPad (23 percent in Europe). The Apple brand, which climbed nine spots to become No. 8 most valuable brand in the world, enjoys strong support by iPad-using corporations: A whopping 83 percent describe themselves as being loyal to Apple’s device. This does not bode well for Android tablets that are gaining some traction on the release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software, but not much in the corporate world. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet also fell on def ear with businesses and tablets powered by Microsoft’s new Windows 8 software are not expected to make any meaningful affect this year.
Also playing to Apple’s favor, the iPad offered over a hundred thousand native apps as of last June. That number has risen to nearly 170,000 at the time of this writing. Yes, the vast majority of iPad apps are indeed consumer oriented and most businesses deploy their own custom-tailored apps. Nevertheless, this just outlines Apple’s huge lead in the tablet market. Gartner highlighted the lack of software on Android tablets in September. Although Microsoft does not supply its Office suite on iPads, the company hinted it could be working on the project. Several virtualization apps exist that tackle this problem, including the recently released OnLive Desktop app that streams Office apps running in the cloud onto your iPad using the same video streaming technology used by OnLive’s cloud-gaming platform.
With tablets thrown in the mix, Apple is poised to blow past Hewlett-Packard and become the world’s top computer maker. The company will reveal holiday-quarter iPad sales in a conference call with analysts scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24. Apple is expected to report shipments of approximately 14-million iPad units. In the September 2010 quarter, Apple sold 11.12 million iPads and 9.25 million iPads in the June 2010 quarter.