Erik Eckel offers his perspective on Apple's rise in business over the years, and its success in driving the BYOD trend.
I remain humble. Honest. But back in 2005, possessing numerous Microsoft certifications and responsible for developing and publishing technical Windows content for hundreds of thousands of information technology professionals, I realized Mac OS X was an appealing, approachable and impressive-performing OS.
I remember I owned two laptops. One was an HP business-class unit. The other was an Apple G4 PowerBook. I'd not used a Mac in a decade. Back in the mid 90s, I'd found the PowerBook 190 my employer issued capable of supporting basic word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tasks. It even managed email passably, but I don't recall being overly impressed with the Apple computer then the way I was with my Toshiba Satellite Pro featuring Windows 95.
The Mac quickly won me over, however, in 2005. I had been beta testing Windows Vista, which was scheduled to replace Microsoft's aging XP platform, and I didn't like the performance, configuration, or general operation of Redmond's impending release. In fact, I believe I ended up loading Red Hat Linux on that HP, instead. But I digress.
Mac OS X, possessing more secure code, an easy-to-use and intuitive interface and surprising performance, led me to begin extolling its virtues. Imagine my genuine surprise, then, when I was immediately attacked. The vitriol, bitterness and contempt I experienced writing of my appreciation and fondness for Mac OS X remains one of the larger disappointments of my professional life. I felt I'd discovered a great new tool in Mac OS X, even if I was a little late to the party, but found that my opinion and experiences with the platform were being discarded out of hand with no regard to their veracity by many biased, tendentious IT professionals.
Of course, I was not alone. Apple's market share, fueled in part by such proponents as The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg and The New York Times' David Pogue, quickly grew. Then came the evolutionary iPhone and the iPad, which resurrected the entire tablet market while simultaneously killing the underpowered, undersized netbook fad. Apple would go on to sell some 100 million iPads and hundreds of millions of iPhones.
Users discovered what Mr. Mossberg, Mr. Pogue, so many others and I have been proclaiming. Apple devices make it easier to complete the digital tasks today's competitive business environment and frenetic personal lives require. For years many IT departments resisted accommodating and supporting users' personal devices, but that's all changed. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) shift that most all organizations are either now embracing or inexplicably battling is due in large part to Apple's innovation and popular devices.
Organizations embracing Apple devices can thrive
No longer should firms, regardless of size and industry, view iPhones, iPads and even Macs as detrimental, risky or unproven. In fact, users are introducing these devices to the enterprise whether IT departments want them or not. And users are doing so because the Apple technologies-notably iPads and iPhones-better enable fulfilling job requirements, professional responsibilities, and operational tasks than previously issued technologies.
A Frost & Sullivan survey revealed organizations are deploying iPads in attempts to add efficiencies, improve customer satisfaction, drive sales and shorten sales cycles, among other benefits. Numerous other studies suggest these benefits are being realized. A recent Telework Exchange study suggests mobile devices used within the federal government are providing nine hours a week of productivity savings. Another study conducted by Nucleus Research concluded sales personnel that leverage mobile apps boost productivity by 14.6 percent.
Regardless of industry, regardless of organization size, the statistics are compelling. Mobile devices, and particularly Apple-specific technologies as evidenced by iPhone and iPad popularity and the sheer number of apps (almost one million) written for the iOS platform and downloaded some 40 billion times, empower businesses. Certainly, Apple devices are already proving the capacity to help save lives within the healthcare field. Businesses need only choose to accept and accommodate the devices, lest I say encourage them, to begin realizing the benefits.