The iPad has become the Apple of Enterprise's eye

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editor's corner

Jim O'Neil

It wasn't that long ago that, as an editor at a daily newspaper, I brought my Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) laptop to an editorial meeting and received an extra helping of abuse from everyone at the table but the head of the graphics department for bringing my "game" computer to a serious meeting.

That former daily paper now only does home delivery three days a week, and the number of pages in its Sunday product now rival a weak Tuesday. Ah, how times have changed. I don't know how many of its reporters and editors now use MacBookAirs, iPhones and iPads, but I'm guessing the number tends toward a majority.

A couple of months ago, an AllThingsDigital story pointed out that Macs--desktops in particular--were becoming more common in the workplace (actually, the story said, "There's really no other way to say this: The Mac is kicking ass").

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Just last week, new Forrester numbers said Apple is riding high on the bring-your-own-device wave, forecasting it could see a boost to its revenues of up to $19 billion this year as enterprises pony up $10 billion for iPads and another $9 billion for Macs. But, according to Forrester's Global Tech Market Outlook, that could be small potatoes in light of the $16 billion and $12 billion it expects enterprises to spend for iPads and Macs in 2013.

There's more news this week to back that up, certainly on the tablet front.

IDG Connect, in a survey titled iPad for Business, said the device has become as ubiquitous in business as the BlackBerry once was, becoming the go-to tool for some 60 million users around the world. According to the survey, IT and business professionals use their iPads intensively, across a wide range of scenarios. More than half (51 percent) of IT decision-makers say they "always" use their iPad at work (and a further 40 percent say they sometimes use it at work). Out-of-home usage is even more intense, with 79 percent of IT decision-makers saying that they "always" use their iPads "on the move."

Predictably, this survey confirms that iPads are better suited to consumption, rather than generation, of content. Around three- quarters use their iPads for news consumption and web browsing.

Surprisingly, IT and business users in South America and Europe have embraced the iPad more than their North American counterparts. Twenty-seven percent of South American respondents said they'd "completely replaced" their laptop with an iPad, and 23 percent of Europeans did likewise.

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Increasingly, business users are turning to their iPads for work communications, said IDG.

IDG didn't break out any data that defined whether iPads were being used in VoIP applications, email, video calling, videoconferencing, or for collaboration, but it did say that in North America, a whopping 67 percent said they "always" use their iPad for work communications. That number, considering only 40 percent of iPad sold have 3G connectivity and Wi-Fi, will likely go up when Apple rolls out its next iteration that includes LTE.

IDG saw the iPad as a significant potential market for technologists. Judging from the spate of enterprise communications apps that have hit the market in recent months--from video conferencing to VoIP calling--they're not alone.--Jim