Apple's iPad, iPhone and an enterprise halo effect

Apple's iPad and iPhone are garnering enterprise interest and proving the company can go corporate. Can the iPad and iPhone spur a broader enterprise halo effect?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Apple's iPad and iPhone are garnering enterprise interest and proving the company can go corporate. Can the iPad and iPhone spur a broader enterprise halo effect?

That question looms large after Apple operating chief Tim Cook verified what some tech CEOs have been talking about since the iPad launch in April. Bottom line: The iPad has a role in the corporate market and there's a lot of interest.

Cook said following Apple's earnings that “more than 80 percent of the Fortune 100" are planning or evaluating the iPhone and Apple is seeing good momentum in the Fortune 500. That momentum is transcending into education institutions, said Cook. And the real kicker: 50 percent of the Fortune 100 are testing and evaluating the iPad in the enterprise.

Specifically, Cook said:

If you look at the iPhone, we're now up to more than 80% of the Fortune 100 that are deploying or piloting the iPhone, and we also see very good momentum in the Fortune 500. In fact, over 60% of the Fortune 500 are deploying or piloting iPhone. This is also transcending into education institutions, and we see around 400 higher education institutions which have approved the iPhone for faculty, staff and students. And so iPhone is really taking off, and iOS4 was another help in doing that.

And the iPad is off to a good enterprise start:

The iPad, very surprisingly in the first quarter, so in the first 90 days, we already have 50% of the Fortune 500 that are deploying or testing the iPad.

Those comments verify what execs like SAP's Hasso Plattner have been saying: The iPad is a strong mobile device for things like business intelligence applications and real-time sales data.

So what's going on here? In a nutshell, corporate customers are getting used to Apple's iOS platform. It took a while, but there's real traction for the iPhone in Corporate America. Apple has a small enterprise sales team so it's not completely about the consumer.

Also: Photos: Useful apps for Apple iPad

These enterprise customers are taking the iPhone for a spin and now looking at the iPad since the underpinnings are the same. For a select group of employees, the iPad could replace the PC. Given that prospect, it's not surprising that Cook was asked about a potential corporate halo effect. Cook acknowledged the worries about the iPad cannibalizing other Apple products, but noted that there may be some more positive developments. Could the iPhone and iPad drag the Mac into the enterprise?

Possibly. Cook added:

We're still selling principally to consumer and education, but we are seeing businesses with increasing interest in the Mac. it is more difficult to measure because many of those sales are filled through the channel.

If this scenario were to play out Apple could see something like this:

  • Corporation adopts the iPhone.
  • Same companies uses the iPad for sales folks and field workers.
  • That company is more open to a Mac purchase when it's time to upgrade corporate PCs.

Cook said it's too early to make any predictions, but he likes Apple's chances.

The Mac share is still low, and so there is still an enormous opportunity for the Mac to grow, and certainly the more customers we can introduce to Apple through iPads and through iPhones and through iPods, you would think that there might be some synergy with the Mac there, and there may be synergy between the iPad and the iPhone as well. This is where it is great  to have a lower share, because if it turns out that the iPad cannibalizes PCs, then I think it is fantastic for us, because there is a lot of PCs to cannibalize. It is still a big market.

It's early in the game, but watch those enterprise adopters for the iPhone and iPad. The enterprise may be boarding the Apple bandwagon shortly.

More background on iOS in the enterprise:

Editorial standards