Nick Wingfield has an interesting story in the New York Times — “Once Wary, Apple Warms Up to Business Market” — that reports on how businesses are increasingly embracing Apple products, but not for the pricey desktops or laptops; it’s the iPhones and iPads that have drawn most enterprise interest. It seems a bit ironic that the most consumer-oriented devices are the ones that have finally made the biggest impact on business. According to Wingfield’s report, here are some of the companies leading the surge:

  • Lowes bought 42,000 iPhones for employees to check inventory
  • Boston Scientific has given out 3,000 iPads to its field sales team, and will add 1,500 more by year’s end
  • Alaska Airlines (1,400 pilots) and United and Continental Airlines (11,000 pilots) have started distributing iPads to pilots to keep track of the latest flight information
  • Siemens Energy has started distributing iPads to its technicians

Obviously, any work tasks that rely on portability and the need for constant updates are extremely well-suited for iPhones and iPads, and they’re still a heck of a lot cheaper and more mobile than even the smallest laptop. Plus, Apple got out in front of the tablet craze with its iPad, which has given them a leg up on the competition.

Wingfield points out the main pain points that IT departments have faced with deploying Apple products in the past (besides price):

Also, although Apple’s secrecy about where its products are headed may help it make a big marketing splash in the consumer market, corporate I.T. departments like to know more so they can budget for big new technology investments.

“Traditionally, you sit down with a vendor and they show you a five- and 10-year road map,” said Todd Schofield, global head of the enterprise mobility group for Standard Chartered Bank. “With Apple, they don’t do that. You don’t know what’s coming next week, never mind two years.”

Have you noted a change in your own organization’s (management/IT department) attitude toward Apple? Take the poll and let us know how, if at all, iPhones and iPads are figuring into your IT landscape.

Share your comments on Apple’s future in the business sector. Will CEO Tim Cook lead Apple into a cozier relationship with corporate environments?

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