Apple sees increased use in business, thanks to its success in the home

Apple sees increased use in business, thanks to its success in the home

The iPhone's famed "Halo Effect" is creating opportunities for Apple in business. A recent report from Forrester Research shows that global business spending on Apple computers and tablets has increased dramatically in recent years, rising from 1 percent in 2009 to 8 percent in 2012, according to a new article in the Wall Street Journal (it's behind a paywall).

Familiarity with the iPhone - an increased demand to use them as corporate communication devices - enables employees to easily adjust their workflow to the iPad, which has seen a strong uptick recent years in businesses that have figure out ways to use them to help automate and simplify the way they do business.

The WSJ report cites examples ranging from an electric utility company that gives iPads to helicopter surveys to help them report on the condition of high-voltage power lines to retailers that have replaced cash registers with iOS devices, reducing customer wait times and increasing store profitability (retailers are finally catching on to how Apple's been doing it in its own retail stores for years).

The "Halo Effect" has been discussed for years. It's the idea that once you use one Apple device, you're more likely to shop for another, gradually replacing other products in your home with Apple branded ones. It's something Apple has known about for a while, and one of the reasons that their own retail stores have been so wildly succesful over the years: sell someone an iPhone and they come back for an iPad, or a Mac. Or, eventually, both.

I can tell you anecdotally that it's true. In the computer retail store I work at on the weekends, we get people all the time who have an iPhone and have decided to replace an aging PC with a Mac, or are interested in an iPad as their first tablet because of a good experience with an iPhone. The iPhone is the gateway drug to further Apple product ownership.

As corporate IT departments have loosened the reins on what sort of systems they'll support (the rise of the "Bring Your Own Device" phenomenon), businesses have seen an influx of Apple products because that's what their employees use. And they're finding uses for them, because the devices are versatile, support is widespread and they work.

It's a great turnaround for a company that has, historically, had an uneasy relationship with the business world. Apple has never really been a serious enterprise player, because they don't build much kit that's designed to be used in enterprise environments.

But the "enterprise" is a lot more than blade servers or beefy network routers. It's also about people, and the tools those people need to get their jobs done every day. And as more and more consumers depend on Macs and iOS devices in their home life, they're finding good ways to use Macs and iOS devices in business too.

It's said that a rising tide lifts all boats. I can't think of a better example of that than Apple's rise in business, thanks to its success in the consumer space.

Are Apple products allowed in your business? Has your company found innovative ways to use them? Or is it the same old thing? I want to hear from you! Please share your comments.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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Peter Cohen

Mac Managing Editor of iMore and weekend Apple Product Professional at a local independent Apple reseller. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

Apple sees increased use in business, thanks to its success in the home


I'm a bit shocked the numbers are that low as I assumed iPads are a big hit in the corporate world. Whatever the case, it seems like the post pc era is no where near happening in the business world yet.

I definitely see this halo effect in the companies where I work. Our office people are still mostly Windows, though more and more travellers are opting for Macs -- while there is no firm policy in place, if a computer purchase is a laptop, chances are it will be a Mac, but if it is a desktop, it will be Windows. (Our server-side developers, who 2 years ago were almost entirely Linux, are now about 50/50 Mac/Linux.) The real holdouts are those who work with specific vertical applications -- they are all on Windows, and will be as long as the applications they deal with are Windows-only.

I have used a PC at work since 1984 (computer drafting). I bought a Samsung smartphone in September as a way to have internet access at home using a data plan. It didn't accomplish what I wanted so I bought an iPad Air and an iPod and got home wifi. I will dump my phone for an iPhone later this year. I would love to be able to use an Apple computer at work. My workplace has full time IT support so they deal with the PC issues. Everyone I know that have Apple computers at home have never had the problems that those with PCs have had. I am not all that tech savvy but just looking at a Mac beside a PC, I'd take the Mac. Maybe you can buy taste.

Our corporate phones are iPhones. But most people carry 2 phones, one for work and one for business. You can use your personnel iPhone for work but then you have to install all of the corporate monitoring and security software.

I'm not surprise. I believe the business side will take some time, but will happen overtime. The post PC era is a slow process, like the type writer was to the computer.

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Our place don't allow any Apple equipment but employees are finding ways to use their own despite them trying their best to resist BYOD. Their server logs should be telling them that resistance is futile!

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We're a dental school in which every dental and dental hygiene student receives a MacBook Pro as part of their instrument kit. On these, they have all 106 of their textbooks and do patient charting and x-rays and nearly all their schoolwork. Every other staff and faculty member either has an iMac or a MacBook Pro that we use. The university is in the process of moving from LDAP to Active Directory and we were one of the first faculties to integrate it. It's smooth and we're having a wonderful time, so we know our stuff. We now want to integrate iPads using Citrix (terminal services-like Remote Desktop) and we have hit our first truly insurmountable problem. Citrix for the iPad just won't do what we need it to do. Citrix on a Microsoft Surface and some Androids (e.g .Sony Xperia - no, Samsung - yes) works well. ln our facility, it's the quality of the Citrix software that's holding back adoption.

The company I work for has been an early adopter of iPads for business use, and now uses iPhones exclusively for our corporate phones. We also have a limited number of Android devices and Surface tablets too (some of our employees like the Surface because they're using Microsoft applications every day for business - in reality they're using it like an ultra-lightweight laptop, not a tablet). The company only has a couple of Macs, though, and I don't see that changing anytime soon, even though there are many in our IT department that are Mac users at home.

The halo effect is exactly what happened to me. Once I bought an iPad that was it. Now the entire household is full of Apple products. Pretty funny considering I thought they were a snob product two years ago.

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First time I've heard of Halo Effect. Interesting. And I think like the others, I might also have been affected by this. Before I was really interested in getting an android smartphone but when I got to try and own an Apple device (reason I got one was because of Apple's rich app selection), it's like I'm hooked and for my next purchase I'd like to still stick with Apple.