In the days since his passing, many experts, pundits and technology enthusiasts around the world have discussed and highlighted the many contributions Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs made to the technology industry and the world in general. However, according to a recent Network World report, among the most overlooked may be the role he played in accelerating consumerization for enterprise mobility.
Four years ago, when Jobs and Apple debuted one of their most disruptive devices, the iPhone, the company had little to no foothold among global enterprises. To that point, Apple had traditionally been a consumer electronics firm.
Corporations and business users chose instead to focus on Microsoft’s Windows operating system for on-premise computing and the BlackBerry OS from Research In Motion for mobility. Apple products were either too expensive or incompatible with existing systems.
And while IT consumerization was certainly present, the trend had yet to reach enterprise mobility deployments in 2007. Nearly all professionals accepted the BlackBerry devices supplied by the company with no questions asked. Both device management and data security were seemingly less challenging at the time.
Then, on January 9, 2007, Jobs and Apple helped set in motion lasting changes to enterprise mobility by unveiling the first iPhone. Few may have thought at the time – especially considering Apple showed little interest in marketing to anyone but consumers – the device would spark a revolution for enterprise technology.
“Four years ago, what percentage of these [companies] had any kind of corporate relationship with Apple?” Dan Kerzner, senior vice president of mobile for business intelligence solutions provider MicroStrategy, told Network World. “I would contend it was very small.”
Now, the iPhone has grown into one of the most popular and sought after products on the mobile device market. According to the latest research from technology analysis firm comScore, Apple is now among the top handset manufacturers and boasts one of the most popular smartphone platforms in the world.
According to comScore, Apple now commands 9.8 percent of the handset market, and the company’s iOS mobile operating system is the second most popular platform in the world with 27.3 percent market share. It has moved ahead of RIM, the pioneer of the smartphone, in both categories. The Canadian company’s share has fallen to 7.1 percent among handset makers and 19.7 percent among platforms.
Many companies can be counted among those pushing Apple’s market share forward. Both the iPhone and the iPad are highly sought-after devices for companies looking to connect mobile professionals to the company network at all times.
Kerzner’s MicroStrategy now boasts 2,300 employees who use an iPad on a daily basis, according to Network World. Many also have an iPhone, he told the news provider. And MicroStrategy’s employees certainly aren’t alone.
“Everyone is staring at their iPhone or iPad,” James Gordon, the vice president of IT for the Massachusetts-based Needham Bank, told Network World. “Often, meetings are being held here and everyone in the room is using the iPad to digitally consume and discuss that information.”
Many of the factors that have allowed Apple products to gain popularity for enterprise mobility are the same that have caught the attention of consumers.
“The user experience, the ease of use, the graphical displays, along with the usability-based innovations, are the primary reason[s] for Apple’s success in the enterprise,” Manoj Prasad, vice president of information technologies for Life Technologies of Carlsbad, California, said, according to Network World.
And the rise of Apple’s presence within the enterprise isn’t expected to slow any time soon, even without Jobs at the helm of the company. That was evidenced with the recent release of the latest version of its smartphone, the iPhone 4S.
Though it didn’t turn out to be the long-rumored iPhone 5, this version of the device is expected to be at least as popular as the previous incarnations and is likely to push Apple’s mobility market share – for consumers and enterprises alike – further upward.
Upon its release, some experts and Apple fans were disappointed that the iPhone 4S may represent only slight upgrades over the year-and-a-half-old iPhone 4, despite the fact that the new device contains enhanced voice controls and faster processing speed.
However, all doubt was quickly erased when the device finally became available for preorder on October 7. Just 24 hours later, Apple reported, more than 1 million devices had been reserved by mobile users eager to get their hands on the latest technology. The seven figures blew away the previous 24-hour preorder mark of 600,000 set by the iPhone 4, according to Apple.