Apple's iPhone has surpassed Research In Motion's BlackBerry as the top smartphone platform among enterprise employees, according to a new global mobile workforce report from iPass. Apple's iPhone held a leading 45 percent market share in a survey of mobile workers at over 1,100 enterprises worldwide conducted from late September to late October.
Today's mobile employees are critical to the success of every enterprise, which explains why 95 percent of mobile employees currently have smartphones -- up from 85 percent in 2010. What's more, the "median age of the mobile worker is about 41 now -- and that is down from 45, which we saw last time in this study," said iPass Vice President Kevin Murray.
Smartphones are now in the hands of nearly every knowledge worker, and with users contributing 240 more work-hours per year on average than their non-mobile counterparts, noted iPass CEO Evan Kaplan. "Connectivity is essential," Kaplan said. "Work is no longer where you go but what you do."
Freedom of Choice
Among enterprise-class smartphone users, the iPhone's market share is 10 percentage points above what RIM's models collectively held last year -- when the BlackBerry smartphone platform led the enterprise smartphone field. One reason why Apple's iPhone now leads the pack is that 62 percent of enterprises now offer their employees the ability to choose the handheld device they would like to use.
According to iPass, 44 percent are allowed to choose a device from a list of corporate-approved smartphones. Moreover, an additional 19 percent are permitted to use whatever mobile device they wish for accessing corporate resources.
"No surprise, the iPhone is the number one smartphone out there as far as our sample is concerned," Murray said.
Still, RIM's BlackBerry market share has only declined slightly from 35 percent in 2010 to 32 percent today, the report's authors noted By contrast, Google's Android mobile platform has nearly doubled its market share over the past twelve months to 21 percent.
The report's authors attribute the rise in enterprise smartphone usage to the adoption by IT departments of "bring your own device" policies, with 42 percent of mobile employees currently using individually liable smartphones for work vs. 34 percent in 2010. By contrast, the number of corporate-liable smartphones in the hands of mobile workers has decreased from about 67 percent in 2010 to 58 percent this year.
Enterprise Tablet Growth
Media tablets are also becoming more prevalent in enterprise work environments during the past few months. The new survey indicates that tablet ownership has grown to 44 percent of mobile employees -- up from 33 percent in the second quarter of this year.
However, 77 percent of the tablets used in the enterprise space are being purchased and paid for by employees, and with 58.5 percent of all tablet owners surveyed saying they owned Apple's original iPad model. Another 46.8 percent said they owned the newer iPad 2 while the third-most popular tablet model was Samsung's Galaxy Tab at 8.6 percent.
However, there just might just be a competitive race building in the enterprise tablet space, according to the report's authors. Among the respondents who intend to receive or purchase a media tablet in 2012, the Galaxy Tab was on the wish list of 17 percent, while 8.9 percent tapped Amazon's Kindle Fire and 6.4 percent want a Windows 8 tablet when they become available.
"Amazon, BlackBerry PlayBook and Windows 8 tablets are making a showing -- at least on the wish list for mobile employees in 2012," the report's authors wrote.