By Weldon Dodd, SVP of Product Strategy, Kandji
The introduction of the Mac in 1984 was a momentous occasion in my life. My career in tech started with running a Mac lab at the university I was attending.
It’s astonishing to compare the original 9-inch black and white display, 8MHz CPU, 128K of RAM and 3.5” floppy drive to today’s MacBook Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display, 12-core M2 Pro Max, 96GB of RAM (with 400GB/s of memory bandwidth!), and 8TB SSD.
The first Mac was released in 1984, and was advertised with the highly-acclaimed “1984” ad.
Just as the hardware has evolved, so has its audience. While Apple had a strong start in education that helped launch my career, anyone involved with selling or supporting Apple products in the enterprise had their work cut out for them. It was a constant uphill battle full of objections. I remember CEOs saying, “We will NEVER have Mac at our company!”
Now, most of those same companies have adopted Apple products, support them, and even allow employees to choose them. In fact, a recent survey by Dimension Data found that seventy-six percent of respondents said employee use of Apple devices has increased in the last two years. When given a choice, most employees chose Apple devices at work.
Why are employees choosing Apple? You can cite the obvious reasons like beautiful aesthetic, blazing performance, and stellar marketing, but it also has to do with the larger Apple ecosystem. Employees love their Apple devices like iPhone and iPad and it feels like a natural next step for them to use a Mac at work.
Speaking of iPad, it shares the same anniversary! Thirteen years ago, Steve Jobs unveiled it in his last major keynote. We’ve seen iPad devices of all different sizes, and now iPad can be completely accessorized with the Magic Keyboard, Apple pencil, and even a mouse! Some employees have chosen to go all in and make the iPad their main productivity tool, taking advantage of the opportunity to use the right tool for the job. As Steve Jobs put it, a computer can be a bicycle for the mind, but there are good reasons trucks, cars, and bicycles exist in the world.
The ongoing conversation with enterprise companies about Apple has changed substantially compared to the past. Now it’s all about how to best deploy and support Mac in large enterprise environments. Apple continues to develop its toolset so deploying Apple devices and supporting them has never been easier. It’s hard to imagine the toolset we have today not always being there, but in fact, the last nine years have been a constant evolution. To name a few highlights: in 2014 Apple gave us the Device Enrollment Program, in 2015 we gained device-based app assignment, and in 2018 those Apple Deployment Programs collapsed down into what we now know as Apple Business Manager. Mobile Device Management (MDM) also continues to evolve from when it was introduced in 2010 to the up-and-coming Declarative Device Management.
Fuel was really poured into the fire over the last two years when working from home became the new normal. The tables are now flipped, with 56% of IT departments preferring to manage Apple devices over Windows-based devices for their remote workforce.
So with an always-evolving toolset and employee demand, it’s no wonder we see enterprise adoption of Mac increasing. The ride isn’t over yet. We’ll continue to see Apple platforms converge, new management tools take shape, and employees will find amazing new uses for them. Soon Mac will turn 40, and it will be epic!