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Apple devices gaining popularity at work: survey

Less than two years after they were introduced, iPads are helping sell cars, fly airplanes, and make medical diagnoses—but such uses may just be scratching the surface. A new survey from the Enterprise Device Alliance shows that Apple devices are poised to keep making big inroads in the business market, even if IT managers remain somewhat dubious.

The association surveyed 277 IT professionals, representing organisations with up to 1.7 million tech users. Just 6.7% of employees in those organisations are currently using Macs, according to that survey—but that number is expected to grow to 9.6% by the end of 2012.

According to the survey, Apple’s mobile devices are expected to make even bigger gains, with iPhone use growing from 14.2% to 20.2% of business users in 2012, and iPad use growing from 4.6% to 9.8% of those users during the coming year.

More than 90% of the businesses surveyed are already using tablets, in fact—mostly in pilot programs—and 75% of those businesses are using iPads, EDA said. That latter number isn’t such a surprise, given how the iPad has dominated the tablet market overall.

What accounts for this growing popularity of Apple products? Simple: Executives love them, and want to bring them to the office. EDA’s survey suggested that executive use of the iPad was the number one reason that businesses are moving to support the tablets. Reason number two: The availability of useful apps.

IT managers remain skeptical of iPads, however EDA said. Almost 60% of the respondents indicated concerns about business security being compromised because of lost or stolen devices—though that shouldn’t be as much of a concern, given the ability to remotely wipe information from a lost iPad. Nearly a third of respondents said tablet users are using consumer-grade apps on their tablet despite data-security concerns.

“Tablets have engendered enormous curiosity but not full acceptance,” the association said. “Security issues are the major impediment to broader acceptance and tighter integration of tablets.”

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