(List updated March 2 with: US Air Force (up to 18,000 iPads) and IBM (10,000 iPads) Back in June 2011, the WSJ had a fascinating article about one-hit wonder products like the Baby on Board sign and, more recently, Silly Bandz. That got me thinking: have the past three months proven that the iPad is no one-hit wonder?
Why, yes, I do believe it has. There’s the many tens of millions of iPads sold in more than two years, the huge pent-up demand for the iPad 3 and Apple’s continued domination over the PlayBook, Xoom and Galaxy Tab.
In October 2011, Apple said that 92% of the Fortune 500 are deploying or testing iPads. Meanwhile, 2,300 school districts in the U.S. are using the iPad, including 600 that have 1:1 iPad:student programs.
However, consumers are fickle. Tastes change, fads fade. In one year, couldn’t the tablet market look completely different?
Sure it could. But it won’t, I think, for a very simple reason: apart from isolated examples like American Airlines buying 6,000 new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1s, enterprises (and schools) are only deploying iPads widely today.
Why is this important? Enterprises plan their budgets and upgrade cycles years in advance (with hardware, that is typically 3-5 years).
The reason is because no IT deployment is as simple as the actual hardware/software purchase. There is training for IT staff and employees. There are the new regulations that must be complied with (and paperwork to be filed). There are budgets to managed and anticipated. There are applications that need to be built, rebuilt, purchased or upgraded.
In other words, any IT decision, no matter how seemingly quick and tactical, usually ends up getting rolled into a larger strategy with a many year impact.
My point is that none of the large organizations that are deploying iPads today are making that decision capriciously. As a result, they won’t dump them hastily. No, anyone who has deployed iPads to hundreds or thousands of employees and has started to use real enterprise apps is basically committed to expanding that usage for the medium term, and very likely the long-term.
Which brings me to the iPad deployment list that I co-maintain with Jim Siegl. The list just won’t stop growing, with about 500 organizations deploying 168,000 iPads.
(Note: this number is lower than Apple’s states above because it only includes deployments we have verified through public sources like news articles and press releases.)
At the top of the list, there is some movement. SAP is now up to 14,000 iPads, up from 3,500 in the spring. United Airlines plans to deploy 11,000 iPads, equipping all of its pilots. Teach For America has taken 9,000 refurbished iPads from Apple and handed them to its teachers.Comments