As Apple touted record iPad sales numbers during its fourth quarter earnings conference call on Wednesday, it highlighted some big customer names too.
For the record, Apple sold 22.9 million iPads last quarter. Although estimates were calling for somewhere in between 23 million and 25 million, that's still a lot of tablets compared to just about everyone else in the industry.
The iPad has always been a consumer product first. But it's clear based on the commentary from Apple executives during today's conference call that the business world is contributing to the iPad's bottom line big time too.
Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer highlighted global banks and government agencies worldwide as major examples.
Financial institutions like Barclays, numerous securities, and Bank of Beijing are deploying iPads to enable employees to better service customers and work securely with financial portfolios and product. In particular, Barclays' rollout of over 8,000 iPads has generated tremendous employing engagement in and feedback, making it the most successful IT deployment in Barclays history.
State and local governments in the United States are also rapidly adopting iPad. Court systems, county inspectors, and law-enforcement agencies use iPad to streamline processes and replace huge amounts of paper. And state legislatures in Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia are all using iPads to give lawmakers instant access to government documents and information.
Outside the US, 10,000 iPads are being deployed as part of broad adoption of a local government workflow solution in Sweden, and over 5,000 iPads have been purchased by the government in the Netherlands for the Dutch tax authority and the Dutch court system.
Apple executives also pointed out some corporate deployments for the iPhone, but it's evident now more than ever that the iPad has found a sweet spot with enterprise customers. With flailing PC (and now Mac) shipments worldwide, the iPad's surge in this regard is likely to continue for awhile.
Nevertheless, 2013 might start to look more interesting with more business-ready tablets on the market finally--most notably Microsoft's Surface.