Apple's iOS devices are moving into the business world in a big way, according to a recent study. While many companies are beginning to transition toward the iOS platform (and away from BlackBerry, which once ruled the business mobile market), the biggest driver of enterprise iOS use appears to be employees who work for companies with a "bring your own device" (BYOD) program. Apparently when offered the chance to choose which smartphone and tablet to bring to work, employees are choosing Apple's iPad and iPhone 4S in droves.
This data comes from a recent study by Good Technology (PDF). The study looked at mobile device - smartphone and tablet - activation rates among their enterprise customers. These customers, it seemed, "show a clear preference for Apple products." Upon further examination of the data, "clear preference" might be a bit of an understatement. According to Good's data, four out of every five device activations in the first quarter of 2012 were iOS devices.
Interestingly, when you break the activations down into smartphones versus tablets, Apple's advantage becomes clearer. Of the top ten mobile devices activated during the first quarter, six of them were Apple products. More to the point, the top six were Apple: the products. The iPhone 4S topped the lists with 37% of all activations, followed by the iPad 2, the iPhone 4, the new iPad, the original iPad, and the iPhone 3GS. Only then does an Android device (the Motorola Droid) make the list. Take a second and let that sink in: the original iPad and the iPhone 3GS - devices that are two and three years old, respectively - are higher on the top ten list than any single Android device, including the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus, two of the best and most popular Android smartphones on the market. What's more, while Apple has three tablets on the list - every tablet they've ever made, in fact - there is not a single Android tablet.
When we back up a bit and look at device activations by kind and platform - smartphone and tablet, iOS and Android - iOS's penetration in the business market becomes clearer, particularly when it comes to the iPad. The most-activated devices were iPhones by a wide margin. The second most-activated devices were iPads, followed by Android smartphones. Android tablets were are barely represented in the data. In fact, of all the tablet activations among Good Technology's business customers in the first quarter, 97.3% of them were iPads.
According to Good's report, most of the companies surveyed - about 70% - have BYOD programs in place, meaning that the popularity of iOS devices over Android is a matter of their employees' preferences, rather than the company's. Of the 30% who have standardized their mobile devices - i.e., they issue devices rather than supporting BYOD - the majority are still choosing iOS over Android.
Now, at first glance this report may seem to be extremely bad news for Research in Motion and its BlackBerry platform. The BlackBerry once held undisputed ownership of the business market, and has suffered badly since the introduction of the iPhone. The astute observer will no doubt have noticed that BlackBerry is not represented in Good's data at all. That does not mean, however, that there were no BlackBerry activations among Good's customers. BlackBerry activation data was not available for Good's study because BlackBerry devices use their own server for email access. Similarly, the Windows Phone platform is not reflected in the report because Good Technology's Windows Phone client has only just been released.
Which smartphone or tablet do you prefer to use for work? Does your company allow BYOD, or do they have standardized device deployment? Which platform does your company prefer? Let us know in the comments.