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iPads go to work: IDG global survey shows broad adoption by IT and business professionals

by David Needle

January 17 2012

We already knew the iPad is a wildly popular consumer product that is quickly finding a home in the enterprise as well, but a new survey confirms the vast majority of that enterprise use is in fact work-related.

New research released this week by IDG Connect details how Apple’s iPad is being used by IT and business professionals worldwide and its impact on other technology. On the latter point, 66% in the global survey said the iPad has partially or completely replaced their laptop.

Almost three-quarters of respondents say that they “carry their laptop around less” now that they own an iPad. Over half (54%) say that their iPad has “partly replaced” their laptop. A clear majority of IT professionals in the Middle East (70%) and Asia (63%)  said the iPad had at least partially replaced their laptop. 

A surprising 51% of those surveyed said they always use the device at work, which was not far off the number (54%) who always use it at home. 

A majority (54%) of the IT and business pros surveyed said they “always” use their iPad for work communication versus personal communication (42%). With a few exceptions, including Australia (where browsing on iPads is less popular than average), and South America (where iPads are used slightly more intensively for personal communication than work communication), IDG said these patterns hold true across the board. 

Using the iPad offline productively

North and South America users had the highest proportion of users who always or sometimes use their iPad offline. Almost one-quarter of European users say they “always” use their iPad offline, presumably for viewing sideloaded or already downloaded content such as books, PDFs and films.

IDG said the survey results show that iPad-based media consumption among IT and business professionals is predominantly text-based and work-related. In particular, Web browsing, news consumption and reading emerge as the three most intensive usage scenarios, “the killer apps” that transform the iPad into a viable business tool.

The study concludes that offline consumption by business pros would include Excel, Word and Powerpoint files sent to them for review by colleagues. Another likely scenario mentioned is that many are using their iPads as a filing system for “must-read” PDF-based reports, including vendor white papers.

“This research shows the tablet is fast becoming a true work device, provided by employers and used in the office for business communication,” said Kathryn Cave, Editor of IDG Connect International, in a release. “It also highlights some startling regional variations, emphasizing the need for marketers to adapt content to local markets as well as new mediums.”

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