Is anyone using the iPad for business?

The iPad is the most popular tablet among consumers, but do any owners of Apple’s hit device actually use the iPad for business? 

The line’s newest model, simply named “the new iPad” by Apple, is being used more for work-related tasks than previous versions, according to a recent report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

Overall, 13% of the tablet’s owners use the iPad for business tasks, the report says. But for new iPad owners, the number jumps to 21%.

That makes sense — both the iPad and the iPhone have made steady inroads in the enterprise market as employees demand more control over the devices they use and Apple improves the capabilities of the iPhone and iPad for business use.

For example, when the new iPad was announced, the company also launched a new management tool called Configurator that allows IT departments to push updates, sync apps and install remote management software on a fleet of iOS devices, as well as divide devices into groups and set policies for each.

iPad for business: Will it catch on?

Of course, 21% is still a minority and despite the increasing use of the iPad for business, the device is still mainly used for pleasure. Professional tasks were the four most-popular uses of the tablet among the 1,000 survey respondents who bought an iPad from December 2011 through April 2012.

Almost 40% of iPad buyers said they’ll use the device to browse the Internet, followed by 32% who’ll use it to watch videos, listen to music and consume other entertainment, and 26% who will use the iPad to play games.

Among owners of the new iPad, though, business use moved up to third place, edging out gaming. What’s behind that increase? Improvements in the device itself probably didn’t hurt, as the third model added an improved display and 4G connectivity, which could boost the performance of the iPad for business use.

However, an even bigger factor could simply be that Apple’s efforts to attract more business customers has paid off, CIRP researchers said.

It will be interesting to see if that holds up in the future, as Apple faces competition from both Microsoft’s Windows 8 Surface tablets, higher end models seemingly geared toward enterprises, and Google’s Nexus 7, a smaller device that costs significantly less than the iPad.

What do you think? Does your company support iPads? Should Apple’s tablet be used for business

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