Enterprise App Development A New Market For Apple's iOS
July 30, 2012

Enterprise App Development Could Be Apple’s Next Big Thing

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

As it turns out, there´s quite a large chasm between the commercial market and the enterprise market, especially where smartphones and other devices are concerned.

Depending on the study you choose – and furthermore depending on what that study is focusing on – Apple´s iPad and iPhone is usually number one or number two in the commercial market, running a close race between Android/Samsung.

In the Enterprise market, however, Apple has only recently become a true contender in a space where RIM made their bones, and the last market where they still have a snowball´s chance in a hot place of turning their business around.

With RIM scrambling to bring tardy products to market and recover any lost ground, Apple has been able to work its way into the hearts and minds of enterprise experts everywhere as the business market is starting to resemble the familiar commercial market, according to a recent report by mobile platform developer Appcelerator.

In a recent survey of more than 3,600 developers, 53% said iOS was the next platform to dominate the Enterprise market, with Android coming in at a distant second. Only 38% of respondents expected Google´s operating system to win the enterprise war, and even fewer expected Enterprise mainstays like Microsoft and RIM to regain their former glory.

It´s possible Apple hasn´t done as much work to get to this place as their commercial customers have. After all, Apple didn´t start out putting many enterprise features in iOS. As more and more companies began introducing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, Apple´s iPads and iPhones were brought into the picture, whether they liked it or not. Now, their recent acquisition of security firm AuthenTec (for a cool $356 million) suggests they may be ready to get serious about business, maturing past their initial “sandals and shorts” mentality.

AuthenTec makes a number of security products, including data protection, finger print scanners and identity management software. Samsung, for example, had recently scored a new contract with the security firm earlier this week. Armed with some new features from their latest acquisition, Apple could be welcomed more freely into those BYOD offices, giving the IT team a little less to worry about. After all, IT teams have long preferred Macs to PCs for their ease of use and low maintenance.

The Appcelerator survey also suggests Android´s notorious fragmentation could be what keeps them from winning the business war. With so many devices running so many different versions of the Google OS, it´s tough to build a quality app which will work for all devices. Additionally, Android hasn´t proven itself to be the most secure operating system, with stories of Android malware becoming more common as more devices make their way into the commercial market. Though not completely immune to malware, iOS has proven itself to be much more difficult to hack into and therefore much more secure than their Google counterpart.

The survey does mention, however, that some app developers are keeping their expectations high for the upcoming release of Windows 8 smartphones and tablets. If Android is unable to gain some footing in the enterprise market, Microsoft could be able to work their way into offices everywhere.

We see an opportunity for Windows 8 in the enterprise,” says Michael King, director of Enterprise Strategy for Appcelerator, in a statement.

“Our developers think the Metro UI is cool. They´re optimistic about Windows 8, but they´re also very cautious. They´re not really excited about developing for Windows 7, and they also believe the Lumia launch has been pretty lame to date. While they´re very optimistic about Window 8, they´re not committing a lot of resources yet.”

Of those developers surveyed, 33% say they´re interested in developing for Windows 8 tablets, a very strong number considering no one has had a chance to get their hands on the tablet to review it. Earlier today, Microsoft finally announced their Surface tablet will release on October 26, the same day Windows 8 launches.

Apple will release their latest mobile OS, iOS 6, this fall, presumably along with a new iPhone.