Apple Announces Record iPad Sales, Big Impact for Enterprise

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Apple recently announced its Q3 2012 earnings and, depending on who you ask, it was either great news or slightly disappointing.  On the disappointing side, Apple surprisingly fell short of Wall Street expectations pulling in $35 billion in revenue compared to the predicted $37.2 billion, and selling just 26 million iPhones to Wall Street’s prediction of 29 million mobile devices.  The Cupertino company did however manage to completely shatter records of iPad sales, shipping out over 17 million tablets between April and June, representing an 84% unit increase from the same quarter of last year.  What prompted such a spike for the revolutionary tablet? Apple CFO Steve Oppenheimer points to adoption from enterprise, and according to the Appcelerator/IDC Q2 2012 Survey, Titanium mobile app developers resoundingly agree.

In a webcasted conference call held shortly following the Q3 earning announcement, CEO Tim Cook and Oppenheimer commented on the numbers. “We’re thrilled with record sales of 17 million iPads in the June quarter,” said Cook.  The only quarter remotely close to this one in terms of iPad shipments was the 2011 holiday season, in which nearly 15.5 million were sold.

Oppenheimer further elaborated on the figure, revealing that aggressive enterprise adoption has resulted in a tripling of iPad numbers within Fortune 500 companies. Highlighted examples of iPad applications for enterprises included a British Airways app that streamlines check-ins and cabin support, a Texas high school where every student and teacher will receive their own tablet as a part of a “Power-Up” initiative, and a Japanese homebuilding app that constructs smart homes fully controlled by iPads.

In the recently released Q2 2012 Mobile Developer Report from Appcelerator, the over 3,600 Titanium developers surveyed seemed to have predicted this increase in iOS enterprise usage exactly.  The survey showed that 53% of developers believe iOS will dominate the mobile enterprise space, compared to just 37% in support for Android. This marks a giant leap for Apple who was tied with Android 44%-44% the last time this question was asked in Q3 of 2011.

We have already seen big moves for iOS tablet integration from names like SAP, who recently distributed 8,900 iPads to employees, and United Airlines who deployed 11,000 iPads to replace paper flight manuals and navigation charts.  Further, Apple has solidified its commitment to the enterprise by including an enterprise associate in every Apple retail store.

Despite such domination, Apple is due to receive competition from both Google and Microsoft in the tablet market.  Google has made attempts to keep the Android tablet competitive with the release of its Amazon Kindle competitor Nexus 7.  But perhaps the most intriguing prospect for enterprise adoption will be Microsoft’s Surface tablet, given its use of the Windows 8 OS, built-in features like Microsoft Office, and its awesomely practical keyboard cover. Titanium developers in the same survey had the opportunity to weigh in the prospect of developing for a Windows 8 tablet, with over 33.3% reporting a great interest in writing apps for the device, despite not yet being available commercially. This cautious optimism is just a hint at the impact the Surface could have on the enterprise scene when it is available for purchase this fall.

As far as Apple failing to meet Wall Street’s initial expectations, the underwhelming result may have less to do with enterprise and more with consumers holding out on a new iPhone for the completely mysterious, yet increasingly hyped release of the “iPhone 5.” Currently the phone is rumored to launch in mid-September. Prepare for big changes with an iPad 3 on the horizon, too.

Also be sure to download the full Appclerator/IDC Q2 2012 Mobile Developer Report, and see how Titanium developers weigh in on more mobile happenings.