iPad

Has Apple's iPhone-iPad tandem been the Trojan horse for Macs in the enterprise?

Analyst reports continue to put Apple at the top of the market -- smartphone, tablets, and now even client PCs. Is there nowhere to go but up?

It seems like everywhere you look there is news of Apple trouncing the competition. Whether it's the smartphone market or tablets, the numbers tell the tale. What's a little bit more surprising is the latest Canalys report, which says that Apple has displaced Hewlett-Packard at the top of the client PC market:

That's because Apple shipped more than 15 million iPads and five million Macs combined - representing 17 percent of the total 120 million client PCs shipped globally during the fourth quarter.

Apple seems in no danger of losing it's preeminence in the tablet market, even though manufacturers keep churning out alternatives. ZDNet's James Kendrick summarizes the challenge for competitors:

Not being able to build tablets as cheaply as Apple is bad enough, but the real problem the competition faces is profitability of the tablets being sold. Cutting every corner possible to get the retail price of tablets down to compete with the iPad, leaves a very thin profit margin, as is the norm in the consumer electronics business. Introducing a new tablet to market is a big gamble for companies as there is not much wiggle room in the profit department to guarantee success.

From the business standpoint, iPads are more and more popular in the workplace. The San Francisco Chronicle cites an IDG survey in this article, "iPad helps Apple succeed in business world":

51 percent of managers with iPads say they always use the device at work, and another 40 percent sometimes do. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents use the iPad for business when outside the office.

This article goes on to say that because businesses have been more or less forced to support these popular devices brought in by users, it has "helped set the stage for Apple's Mac computer to make its own inroads in the corporate world." I never really thought of it that way, but it makes sense. Has Apple's consumer-oriented focus on everyday users become the battering ram it needed to burst into enterprise environments? I remember the derision that met the iPad at its release with many IT types pooh-poohing it as a rather useless toy. Oh, how the worm has turned! How far do you see this trend continuing, particularly with client PCs? Should we even be thinking about PCs in the same way these days -- a question Mark Kaelin poses here: Is the desktop now a niche concept?

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

18 comments
elidreamer
elidreamer

It sounds like a tablet that would work with enterprise would be just the ticket... can anyone say Win8 Tablet? Of course even if it will perform as needed, there's still the public perception of the unit, will the public like it, will they think its cool enough, and part of that will be cost as well. As far as upgrading when they need more power, (as someone mentioned) there is very little to be done with a laptop these days either.

Laurentian Enterprises
Laurentian Enterprises

A number of items in this article are out to lunch. "Not being able to produce tablets as cheaply as Apple"? Apple is the most expensive tablet out there, with a much superior tablet from Asus coming in at $100 less for same storage specs. If these tablet manufacturers sold their product at the same price as Apple, they would be making a very nice profit. "It seems like everywhere you look there is news of Apple trouncing the competition. Whether its the smartphone market" Huh? Maybe this author should look at what percentage of the smartphone market Apple has, about 10%. While that is healthy, if you look at Android phones, they have about 60%. True, that's all manufacturers, but Apple doesn't hold any kind of commanding lead. It's the same for the PC market, Apple has about 12%. They do hold a huge lead in tablets, but they were there first. What will happen in a year or two? I don't think anybody knows for sure, but they didn't hold the market share in smart phones, so will they do it for tablets? Time will tell.

BobManGM
BobManGM

Apple makes good products; agree. Apple makes good products that fit within the enterprise; disagree. Before I'm labeled, I have worked with both platforms extensively and like Apple. I like Wintel too. Having said that... 1. $ is always an issue. I have NEVER found a ROI that was straight forward enough/strong enough to say one platform is better over the long term. 2. The hardware "freedom" concerns above are correct. 3. Our teams here can do a lot more on the BlackBerrys that are our current standard (better integration with our applications, more freedom to fix things, etc.). 4. In a test run, iPads in numbers just didn't do as expected with; Integration (see above) Document Creation Support Ease (try walking a senior VP through a few things opposed to doing it for them remotely and you'll understand) We had people with both iPads and laptops (Wintel) and that is NOT an improvement. I caution anybody; Apple makes good consumer products. You can even get them into small groups and have a great experience. But, come 1000+ machines, and they just don't play nice. At a school district, I had the same number of support people and outage #s as comparable Wintel districts. For my use, I love my iPod. Bob

Komplex
Komplex

If the worker gets to choose the tools he/she uses for work, then we'll see an increase in the number of macs in the enterprise. Despite the hysterical cries of the anti-mac crowd Apple makes really, really nice computers. Apple computers are more expensive, but they offer a better value. But as long as the Purchasing department is calling the shots, Apple products will be kept out of the enterprise desktop/laptop market. The Purchasing department looks only at the price, the extra $200 is not worth the expense for them, because they don't use the computers.

TNT
TNT

After Christmas my company experienced a surge in people bringing their iPad's to work. As easy as these devices are supposed to be, it generated a lot of calls to the service desk as people couldn't figure out how to configure the device to receive company email. Once configured the calls started dropping off, until this week. Now the calls coming to the service desk are from people who's accounts are being locked out. Its locked out because they changed their password, and didn't change it on their iPad, so the iPad keeps trying to retrieve their mail using the old password. What's interesting is that these people who were so quick to try to use their iPads at the office, can't change the password on their iPad because they've left it at home. We inform them their account will continue being locked out every few minutes until they change their password on their iPad, meaning they need to drive home and get it. My take is that everyone likes the idea of using a slate device at the office, but what is currently offered by Apple and others does not meet the requirements. Once this is realized the user leaves the slate device at home and continues doing business the old fashioned way, with a PC.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

[i]So, my question to you is, has your opinion changed about the iPad (or tablets in general),[/I] No [i]and secondarily have you seen Apple's computers working their way into your workplace? [/I] No, if anything it's the other way around. Because the iPads can not run the software that is run on the Desktops the end users treat them as the toy that they are. Of course with [b]Medical[/b] and Hospitals in Particular they have a use what they can, that can be used by [b]Doctors doing Rounds[/b] and instead of using [b]Traditional Paper Records[/b] and [i]Doctors Writing[/i] they can use a Tablet to list the Patient Medication and treatment. This single thing alone makes Tablets worthwhile as the incidence of wrongly administered Drugs because the people tasked with dispensing the drugs can not read the doctors writing has dropped dramatically. Of course though if the computers go down you then have the possibility of a 100% Drug Administration Failure Rate because there are no Patient Records available. So you can look at somehting like a 40% wrongly administered Drug Treatment regime or a 100% when the technology fails. :D Even then iPads have not made any impact in Medical Work here and more Traditional Windows Based Tablets are all the rage. Even in the Graphic Arts Side of things where Apples Mac's Excel I have yet to see any push to adopt them Company Wide. They can not be surpassed for what they are good at and leave lots to be desired on the General Desktop. Of course with [b]True Multi Platform Applications[/b] that may all change as the need to have Windows wouldn't exist but even then Accountants tend to have control of the Companies Purse Strings and Mac's are far more expensive to buy initially so that alone brings a lot of resistance. Though to be perfectly honest I dont have any Yuppies work at my Clients so maybe Im insulated from the mainstream. But with things like iPods and Pads not really being repairable but are throw away items that doesnt help them either. Not to mention the inability to upgrade them when the user needs more power. Col

BBaldwin803
BBaldwin803

As someone who has had an iPad from day one I've contended that the iPad and tablet computing in general, is the future of the tech world. Not that I think traditional computers are going to disappear because tablets are limited simply by their form factor (to say nothing of the current limitations of the software, though that "limit is becoming less with each new OS release, and as new apps are created to meet users needs). Traditional computers will probably always exist in one form or another. I personally see a day when the tablet will be every users computing devise which will be both a tablet and will "convert" to a traditional computer when paired with a docking console... But I digress. What I didn't see was the iPad helping Apple work it's way into mainstream enterprise, yet that does seem to be the case. It certainly has at the company where I work, which is a very large company. From the day that Apple announced the iPad there have been those who (with limited vision in my opinion) have seen it as nothing more than a "toy", or as only a consumption devise (as if that alone isn't enough to make it a major player in the workplace). What does seem to be happening is that there are more and more "converts" who finally gave in and have given the iPad (and/or other tablets) a try, only to find out that the devise actually has a useful purpose and, for most users, it helps make them more productive. So, my question to you is, has your opinion changed about the iPad (or tablets in general), and secondarily have you seen Apple's computers working their way into your workplace?

BobManGM
BobManGM

We are waiting on Win8 here. There is a plan to do a test of Win8 tablets since other tablets are not fitting into our environment.

danbi
danbi

Windows 8 is still one great unknown, especially on tablets. It seems that with WinRT, Microsoft are finally going back to their old habit to copy from Apple. But this , while a very good move means that the programming APIs will have nothing to do with what it was under Win32 and most programmers will have to learn new concepts. Which, on the other hand is good, because they will better appreciate all the MacOS X, iOS and other UNIX platforms out there. What all this also means is that at least for some time, Windows 8 machines will be very different to manage than current Windows platforms -- which might delay their adoption in mostly Windows enterprises, but again.. might make them more appealing to mostly UNIX enterprises. We shall wait and see how win8 develops. The "vacuum" however might attract more Mac sales, especially because of the proliferation of iOS devices around -- it is all natural to expect that the laptops/desktops of the company that brought you this brilliant iPad will be just as brilliant.

OGDroid
OGDroid

You must be talking about the quad-core Asus Eee Transformer Prime TF201. By what count is it superior to the iPad? When it comes to where it counts, raw processing power, its amazing how this "much superior" tablet is still out performed by the one year old dual-core iPad 2. The benchmarks are there at GLBenchmark.com for all to see. What's even sad is that even the iPhone 4S is ranked higher than the ???much superior??? Asus. This means you get what you pay for, the Asus is one of the buggiest tablets out there, GPS issues that have been resolved by simply not installing the component but still ship with it as a feature on the box. The problems with the ???much superior??? Asus have prompted a few suppliers to stop selling it because they don't want to deal with returns. If this is what you call ???much superior??? then you are just another techno hobbyist who simply believes the numbers on a box without so much as sparing a thought on how it all works together. It???s really a whole load of nonsense the way people get all starry eyed by features that don???t deliver the implied performance. From an enterprise perspective one of the reasons that makes an iPad a better value proposition is the fact that like all iOS device it has a longer life span. The iPad 1 handles iOS 5 with ease whereas early reports of Android 4.0 on dual-core tabs seem to suggest that one might need a quad-core tab to have a bug free experience. A good example of this is the 2009 iPhone 3Gs vs. the 2010 Samsung Galaxy S I. The 3GS which shipped with iOS 3 is still getting updates and is running iOS 5 Samsung announced that the seemingly better spec'ed SGSI is too under resourced to run ICS 18 months after it was released. That means the updates stop before the contract expires whereas Apple guarantees hassle free updates for 3 years. For any company this is going to be a huge deciding point. You need to think, don't let you fanboy colour coated glasses prevent you from seeing the obvious. "Apple trouncing the competition" why should this statement be wrong. Don't confuse the market with the firm. At the firm level Apple is trouncing the competition in both PCs and smartphones. This is where you techno hobbyist get it wrong. Apple has been the most profitable PC manufacturer for years and is the only one that registered positive double digit growth in the past year. As for smartphones the fact that Apple sold the most smartphones in the past quarter means that they, surprise surprise ???trounced the competition???. This is firm vs. firm. The size of the Android market is its Achilles heel together with security issues inherent in Android this is why on this blog it was reported that due to these security issues most CIOs are very hesitant about Android in the enterprise. The funny thing about it is that Apples so called ???walled garden??? confers certain security advantages over the competition. In any case widespread enterprise adoption is not contingent on market share; if this was true the same enterprises would not be holding on to Blackberries. I tell you this even if RIM was to shrink to 1% markets share it???s going to be tough for anyone to convince US security agencies, as an example, to ditch their BBs. So instead of playing the market share game you need to be thinking about what each platform has to offer. Granted tough Apple seems to have the lead in the enterprise it will have to do a bit more work in addressing some of the concerns of industry.

TNT
TNT

Corporate IT resists bringing Macs into the workplace because they cannot do simple maintenance themselves without violating Apple's warranty. Replacing a failed hard drive, for instance, is simple on a PC but requires days of downtime on a Mac. It's this kind of practice that keeps Macs out of the corporate space. But this article isn't about Macs, its about iPad adoption in the work place. iPads, or any slate device really, is still fairly new and doesn't bring any killer app or service to the table. Why invest in a tablet that has an OS that cannot be managed or supported with existing infrastructure? Why make the investment in back office architecture, security, training, etc for a device that doesn't do anything that the current crop of laptops can't do?

danbi
danbi

You have designed a policy to lock out your users when they provide wrong email password. You are also allowing for the email to be retrieved from everywhere. So perhaps you could have saved all this grief by just telling the users what the policies are and what they are expected to do? Those iPad users will learn, that is for sure.

dafutzyak
dafutzyak

Hmm. Me and my "toy" can access workstations and servers using LogMeIn or GoToManage, run SSH commands on my hosting servers, can access my GMS system for a quick peak at a system status, plus access my accounts to transfer funds or perform other business. The convenience and quick accessibility of the iPad (and I imagine the 'Droid-type offerings) provides me with a tool to use in oh so many circumstances. I can also track TechRepublic on my "toy", plus download PDF's and other documentation that I need at close hand when working on a system--whether it's configuration notes, troubleshooting information, or technical data. No, my "toy" is not perfect. Companies that once produced their "info-videos" only in flash are now finding that they need to deliver in a different medium--due to demand by their users. Plus, as far as "medical apps" go, it makes for great marketing yet it hasn't fit in yet for that vertical where I'm involved. I've worked with Motion Computing tablets (that cost in excess of $3,000), Dell Latitude ST running Windows XP or 7, and I've played with some of the 'Droid tablets that do show promise (just haven't owned one. Yet.) And yes, I've dropped one--shattering the screen (although it still worked!) requiring me to recycle it with Apple on a discounted cost for its replacement. iPad in Enterprise? Yes and No--but certainly not just "No".

danbi
danbi

I am always amazed at the requests of "IT" types to manage some device's OS. This is not a Windows based Tamagotchi that you need to babysit. The OS is embedded in the device as much as there is embedded OS in many more devices around -- that you surely do not "manage". So here is the question: what you require as management of the iOS devices? The tablets are different from laptops of course and offer one absolutely unique benefit: their form factor. You can use a tabled in many places, where you cannot use a laptop. Plus the tablet is on instantly and you can perform quick tasks for much shorter time, than with a laptop, etc. There are people out there that value their time, don't consider babysitting a PC or laptop any useful exercise and will prefer the tablet anytime when it can do the job. Edit: About the hardware replacements etc. Any "normal PC" that has warranty cannot be opened to replace it's HDD (for example) without losing the warranty. It is that simple. Apple at least is reacting pretty quickly on repairs and often they have the general policy to just replace the entire unit. Apple laptops/desktops can of course be opened and parts inside replaced. Perhaps if Apple decides to go more into the enterprise business, they might expand their service centers and have specific enterprise contracts etc. Or, they might just elect to be "arrogant" and leave things as it is.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Would you even consider a piece of Hardware if it was sold as a Functional Form Factor with a 486 CPU and a Special OS to make it appear fast enough? When I say Play Toy it means a [b]Low Powered[/b] Device not capable of using the newest software or powerful enough to do the Job that the [b]"Real Machines"[/b] do, and here I use that term very loosely. :D [i]Me and my "toy" can access workstations and servers using LogMeIn or GoToManage, run SSH commands on my hosting servers, can access my GMS system for a quick peak at a system status, plus access my accounts to transfer funds or perform other business.[/i] Yep I know what's possible but is that [b]A[/b] A good thing? [b]B[/b] Something you would consider letting your End Users Use? [b]C[/b] Something you want every boy and their dog in the business using and completely screwing your Security? [i]plus access my accounts to transfer funds or perform other business[/i] So what AV Product are you using to prevent your Bank Account Details being Stolen and someone else logging in with your Details and taking your Money? Of course if you are running around buying every new piece of Tech then you probably don't have any money to be stolen but here at least Banks only will refund Money removed from your Accounts if there is a [b]"Screw Up"[/b] on their side of the Security Maze. If you allow your Tech to get Infected and that leads to the loss it's on your Shoulders and rightly so. OH did I mention that I do a Lot of Bank Security at the High End and am the one called in to fix up what their own people mess up? Just how useful is your Low Powered Tech when it's running a Full Time AV Product to prevent Infection? Taking 3 hours to have 1 keystroke appear isn't my idea of being useful, but then again I can't waste several days just to enter a Command String to see a 3 Nanosecond response. ;) [i]I can also track TechRepublic on my "toy", plus download PDF's and other documentation that I need at close hand when working on a system--whether it's configuration notes, troubleshooting information, or technical data.[/i] So how much are you paying to do this? Yep I know you are Hacking into the Companies WiFi and throwing it open to all sorts of attacks because you have a Unsecured Device logging in on a Secured WiFi right infecting the entire system? Naturally you're not using the 3/4G capabilities of the device because it's way too expensive to use something like that for something as meaningless as actual work. But then again if the company is paying just how sustainable do you think it really is? [i] Plus, as far as "medical apps" go, it makes for great marketing yet it hasn't fit in yet for that vertical where I'm involved.[/i] These things simply do not have enough processing power to run a Medical App they can at best run part of the Application like Prescribing where the Drugs that the Quack wants used are recorded in the Main System over the WiFi in the Hospital but when it comes to Printing them out there is a bit of Difficulty, so we just give everyone one of these things and that's the answer right? :^0 [i]And yes, I've dropped one--shattering the screen (although it still worked!) requiring me to recycle it with Apple on a discounted cost for its replacement.[/i] So who's responsible for Tracking the Hardware that the Company Owns? I'm betting that they just love it needing to change Serial Numbers and so on over every time a Battery Dies and the entire unit needs replacing. Best hope that Sony doesn't have another batch of Faulty Batteries again where they burst into flames because it's way too difficult recalling every Tablet in the place and replacing them. Sure you do it at a Discount but then again Companies buy at a Discount, they don't pay retail for anything if they have even a part way professional Accounts Team. The Apple Discount is still more than what the company paid for the thing to begin with and this is where Apple in this case make money on these devices in that environment. They give them away and charge [b]"Standard"[/b] Repair Rates when it's cheaper for the business to just throw it into the Bin and buy another at their Company Buying Price direct from Apple. Though that screws their Security right up because the Data on the Storage is still there. Of course giving it to Apple to have to do what they like with isn't any better either. :D Here I wasn't specifically singling Apple out but referring to all Slate Devices which I might add are not a new phenomenon they where here long before the iPad was designed just not well used or accepted because of their price and limitations. ;) [i]iPad in Enterprise? Yes and No--but certainly not just "No". .[/i] I actually said if you care to look [b]"No, if anything it's the other way around. Because the iPads can not run the software that is run on the Desktops the end users treat them as the toy that they are."[/b] Here No means that they are not wanted and the fact that they are limited by what the End Users Want, is what is the End User doesn't want. Being Portable may suit some but the End Users that I support are not mobile mostly and the few that are need much more processing power to do their job. Because the current generation of Slates are Low Powered Devices the Users call them [b]"Toys"[/b] and that is the prospective I was replying from. I have one Mobile Sales Person who sells Heavy Earthmoving Equipment who has been known to run a 40 Ton Excavator Track over a NB that didn't do what he wanted. Just how long do you honestly think that a Current Generation Slate would suit his particular needs? This crowd is also just as likely to take a swing at you for messing up a sale that the Hardware you supplied fouled up on, than to blame the hardware or [b]Shock Horror[/b] them self. Currently Slates have their place but I really have not seen any place yet in Business where that is and to be perfectly honest who did Apple design the iPad for? The Corporate User or the Domestic User? Apple specifically target the Home User with their devices and have made no attempt to push the Business Community into adopting their products. It's the Company CEO's and other Board members who buy a iPad or similar and then want to use it in their business because they like it, think it would be Cool, or just want to attempt to justify their new [b]"Play Toy."[/b] I've one CEO who insists that his iPod is a [b]Must Have[/b] work tool because it allows him to listen to his recorded information when on Plane Flights so he arrives at the other end refreshed and ready to go. That is a 80 Gig iPod loaded with 60 Gig of Music. Yep if it was allowed to play from start to finish it would take over a year to play each song once. There is a very big difference between actually needing something to do your work and attempting to Justify the need of a Device you want. ;) Col

OH Smeg
OH Smeg

And here the problem isn't so much the OS in itself but Security of the Business System. To that end you need to install adequate Security applications to prevent a Infected Whatever and it could be a IOS, Droid, or even Windows OS that brings in that infections and kills your Security. It's rather pointless allowing anyone to bring in whatever and use it when you have to carry the can for what goes wrong. While both IOS and Droid are much more Secure by Design than Windows OS's could ever hope to be that in no way implies that they are immune to infection and if anything actually means that they are more likely o be infected because the users do not install the necessary Apps to prevent Infection or follow the Same Safe Browsing Standards that they follow on their Windows Platform Devices. While the Big Difference is the Form Factor for the user the real difference to the LAN Administrator is the lower Security that these things mean. ;) Col

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

What the Banks I work for do is immaterial unless of course you want to look at their Fair Usage Policies. If you loose money from your Account as a result of something going wrong their end they pay. However if you loose money from your Account because you are stupid and allowed your Infected Device to send your Account Log In Details to someone else who may have been involved in some way in the loss, it's your problem. [b]Pure & Simple[/b] not the Banks and your Monies gone unless you can tell the Authorities who took it you have no chance of ever seeing it again let alone anytime in the short term where it may prove useful before you become homeless and jobless. [i]Offering an alternative view--the view that there can be uses for low powered devices such as tablets--as a useful, valuable tool in business and, yes, enterprise, was my attempt. Even if they are the "toy that they are."[/i] Yep there are places in Business for these devices provided they are not part of the Business Domain or in any way logged into a Secure Environment or in any way connect to that Secure Environment. So they make excellent Devices to hold the CEO's Music/Video Files and allow them to play those Music/Video Files back when they are sitting on a Aircraft going to a Meeting and are busy [i]"Working."[/i] They just don't have any place connecting and introducing security holes in Business Systems. OH and if you can use them successfully [i] (which can be done with Motion Computing,even without the same level of power[/i] The company who provides the hardware is supplying you with overpowered Hardware that is wasting their money. ;) Col

dafutzyak
dafutzyak

So interesting that your slant wants to put any tablet as a desktop replacement (which can be done with Motion Computing,even without the same level of power). Security, which now seems to be of prime importance, can only be approached as a series of layered solutions. Does your bank run behind a firewall that sees NAT as its primary defense? Or does it use DPI along with other protections (as I would hope)? Offering an alternative view--the view that there can be uses for low powered devices such as tablets--as a useful, valuable tool in business and, yes, enterprise, was my attempt. Even if they are the "toy that they are."