by Sarah K. White

Is Apple losing its enterprise tablet edge?

Aug 17, 2015

Apple has been king in the enterprise, but a new study reports that Android and Windows are slowly catching up.

Apple has been king in the enterprise, but a new study reports that Android and Windows are slowly catching up.

Apple’s reign in the enterprise might be coming to an end, according to the Mobility Index Report for Q2 from Good Technology, a mobile security provider . While iOS devices still hold the lead for enterprise use, Android and Windows tablets are gaining steadily.

[ Related: How tablets are changing the way people buy cars ]

iOS held 64 percent of the market share in Q2, which is down significantly year-over-year. By comparison, in the first quarter, iOS held the lead with 81 percent of all activations, but over a year ago, iOS was controlling 92 percent of the tablet market. Android has jumped from 15 percent of the market share in Q1 to 25 percent in Q2, while Windows tablets — and hybrids, like the Surface 3 and Surface 3 Pro — have jumped from 4 to 11 percent.

Mobile devices by verticals

The industries that rely the heaviest on Apple include the public sector, insurance and financial services; but education has the highest rate of iOS devices at 76 percent, which is a drop from 83 percent in Q1. Android continues to grow in high tech, from 47 percent in Q1 to 53 percent of activated devices in Q2.

[ Related: There’s a silver lining in the cloudy tablet forecast: Workplace tablets ]

Energy is another Android-friendly industry, with 48 percent of devices running android, while last quarter Android devices only made up 44 percent of devices in the energy industry. Android also has a strong hold in manufacturing, with 42 percent of Android devices activated in that industry.

Looking to the future of enterprise tablets and smartphones, the capability to create secure enterprise apps seems to be the most important deciding factor. Companies have five categories they care about most when implementing mobile technology in the enterprise. In order of most important to last, the top five considerations are secure browsing, secure instant messaging, custom apps, document editing and document access.

Interestingly, document editing and access are fairly new requests from corporations as more content goes mobile. In Q1, requests for document access grew 68 percent quarter-over-quarter, while document editing requests grew 51 percent over the same time. Not much has changed over Q2, according to the Mobility Index Report, with document editing and access remaining a top priority for businesses. With more companies equipping workers with mobile devices and hybrid tablets, they have a greater need to access content and data on the go.

Waiting for iPad Pro for business

Apple’s momentum in this arena might be bolstered by the rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro,” which is expected to target employees and businesses as a work-horse option, rather than an entertainment device. Apple Insider reports that a larger screen coupled with split-screen capabilities and keyboard configurations found in iOS 9 along with a potential Apple stylus and enterprise apps could help Apple maintain its place as the top tablet for the enterprise.

Still, it isn’t a surprise that Android and Windows tablets are quickly growing in market share, because many of these devices come better-suited for full computing needs. For example, Android tablets can be used with a mouse in addition to a Bluetooth keyboard, whereas Apple’s devices can be used with a keyboard, but not a mouse. And similarly, Windows devices like the Surface 3 and Surface 3 Pro come equipped with full Windows 8.1 or 10, as well as keyboards and trackpads.