If you had taken a look inside most offices just a decade ago, you'd be met with row after row of PCs. Beyond iPods, with their trademark white earbuds, you'd be hard-pressed to find a single Apple device at work in the building. Even a few years later, after the iPhone made its debut in 2007, employees hardly ever conducted business on anything bearing the Macintosh logo.
Making headway with hardware
Now, as many as 84 percent of businesses say they prefer working on Apple devices, according to a report from Tech Pro Research. The company found that in a majority of cases, businesses began working on Apple products in response to direct employee requests, suggesting initial adoption is fueled by employees' desire to work on the same devices they use at home.
Making the switch has done more than simply keep their workforce happy, however. Fifty-six percent of organizations said they experienced "positive outcomes" after transitioning to a Mac-friendly environment. These benefits included:
- Fewer calls to IT
- Reduced technology training
- Longer and less expensive upgrade cycles
- Reduced IT spending
- Lower hardware costs.
For Apple, these success stories are more than just anecdotes – they represent a new era of computing across the enterprise.
"This is not a hobby," Apple CEO Tim Cook said on stage at last year's BoxWorks conference. "This is a real business."
Striding forward with software
While the Cupertino, California company has made strong progress establishing some of its most popular consumer products as business staples, it sees its future in the enterprise as beyond just supplying hardware – it wants to change the applications on which business gets done as well.
"It is shocking how many people haven't gone beyond emails and browsing," Cook added at the BoxWorks event, according to Fortune, hinting at a future in which businesses make the most of their iPhones, iPads and Macs with native, enterprise-level software programs.
Room to reach
While the tech giant posted a record $25 billion in enterprise earnings in the 12-month period ending last June, Apple still has plenty of room to grow.
Even after its recent surge, just one-third of companies spend more than 20 percent of their hardware budget on Apple devices, according to the Tech Pro Research study. One major reason for this is that while iPhones and iPads are extremely popular, the more expensive Mac desktops and laptops are still underutilized.
When it comes to improving the company's visibility in large corporate markets, Cook says Apple will leverage partnerships with more well-established players like IBM, Microsoft and Cisco. While Apple can already provide deep design and interface experience, it will learn from these industry giants' experience selling into specific vertical markets.
What this means for businesses
As Apple narrows its gaze on the enterprise market, businesses can expect a slew of additional hardware and software products designed with their needs in mind. For example, the iPad Pro recently emerged as the Cupertino company's first mobile device designed specifically for business users. As companies continue to leverage bring-your-own-device programs, it wouldn't be a surprise if Apple eventually rolled out a Pro model of its iPhone, allowing business users to pack even more power into their pockets.
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