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Apple Continues Enterprise Blitz-Crawl

Thanks to the rising popularity of the iPad, Apple’s influence within the enterprise is growing, but not with rocketing speed as one might suspect. Still, the advantage appears to be on Apple’s side, even if corporate IT managers view the vendor’s hardware as an afterthought.

A March 2012 InformationWeek iPad survey shows corporate IT managers aren't overwhelmed by the new iPad but they do see it as a worthwhile product, with most respondents (61%) characterizing the latest Apple tablet “as a solid offering that met their expectations inasmuch as that can be said without actually handling one.”

Though the research finds Apple’s OS X-based hardware remains underrepresented in large enterprises, iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads are a different matter – 50% of respondents say their companies support the former and 47% report support for the latter. Inarguably, the results suggest a trend towards more device diversity within large companies.

“There was some uptick in the number of respondents that are looking at Apple products at least from a support standpoint. We’re also seeing a broader number of organizations that are allowing employee-owned computers into their environment,” remarks Kurt Marko, a regular contributor to InformationWeek and an IT industry veteran. “Overall, I think it bodes well for seeing more Apple devices in the enterprise, but whether those are actually IT provisioned or just IT supported and deployed is still up in the air.”

According to a new report from the Information Security Forum, the hyper-hot BYOD (bring your own device) trend, driven in large part by tablet and smartphone devices like Apple's iPad and iPhone, respectively, can present security issues their advocates weren’t aware of. Also known as Bring Your Own Disaster to security professionals, companies need to balance acceptance of consumer-built smartphones and tablets with control of those devices to protect their networks.

Despite the fact that iPhones and iPads have infiltrated the enterprise, much of Apple's approach to networking and interdevice functionality is still a bit, well, consumer-oriented, which has IT scrambling to deal with protocols that often conflict with enterprise IT's goals. Back in November Apple released an update for the iOS operating system (version 5.0.1) which addressed several security problems. Some of these security issues were quite serious, such as the kernel bug which allows an application to load and execute unsigned code, thereby bypassing all the verification processes of the Apple store.

For all intents and purposes, the PC market is essentially a laptop market now but despite the iOS penetration, notebooks won’t be going the way of the square wheel anytime soon.

“We’ve seen the market share between desktops and notebooks tilting more and more to the latter, but as to how fast this shift happens, I don’t think anyone thinks PCs – whether Mac or Windows – are going away. They’re going to continue to be used in this environment,” he says. “You are going to see tablets and phones displace the PC and not just augment it, but actually displace PCs for certain types of uses and users.”

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