Enterprise iPad Sales Fuel Apple's Blockbuster Earnings

While consumers in droves are buying Apple iPads, enterprises in all sectors are embracing the tablets, as well.

The trend is not entirely surprising, but what's noteworthy is the fact that Apple is stepping up its effort to reach enterprise customers and enable the process of deploying business applications on iPads. Apple historically has expended minimal effort to cater to enterprises.

Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the increased emphasis on Tuesday's Q2 earnings call, during which the company reported blockbuster revenues of $39.2 billion, a 59% increase over the same period last year, and profits of $11.6 billion, up 94% over the same period last year. Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones, an 88% increase, and 11.8 million iPads, up 151%.

In the two years since Apple released the iPad, the company has sold 67 million units. It took 24 years for Apple to sell as many Mac computers, Cook told investors. "It's everywhere you look now," Cook said.

Noting that 94% of the Fortune 500 and 75% of the global 500 are testing or deploying iPads, Cook said he wants to accelerate that penetration. "These numbers are just off the charts for a product that is just 24 months old," Cook said of the enterprise testing and deployment.

Apple has quietly extended this effort for more than a year, adding new channel distribution, among other things.

"It's absolutely the most broad-based product I have ever seen in my career in terms of adoption rate into the enterprise," Cook said. "Yes, this means we are applying more resources and SEs and sales people to interact directly with these customers. We also work with our carrier partners and our reseller partners in delivering both those products and services that are wrapped around that to these customers."

Cook's comments implicitly suggest that Apple is preparing for an onslaught of new devices expected to appear later this year running Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8 operating system. Though Apple executives never mentioned specific competitive offerings, the dominance of the iPad will be tested when Windows 8-based devices ship with Microsoft's new touch-based Metro interface.

Apple has a distinct advantage, Cook argued: The company's iTunes App Store, now 4 years old, has 600,000 apps for the iPhone and 200,000 for iPads. Cook noted that in March Apple passed the milestone of the 25 billionth app download.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.