It seems as though there is a huge ruckus in the consumer market any time Apple releases a new product.  With the release of the newest iPad IT had a chance to get in on that action.  Apple has been slowly edging their way into the enterprise arena, but has yet to overtake their biggest competitor in Microsoft.

Online technology reporter InformationWeek recently conducted a survey of 402 business technology professionals about the newest iPad.  These individuals were involved in purchasing, management, and user support for the product.  Of the 402 surveyed 13% said that the new iPad was something that they could not live without.  Most of the respondents, 61%, said that the iPad was a solid offering that met their expectations.  Another 22% agreed that the end users will be so enamored with the new device that they will have to have one.

In the past corporate IT managers have not view Apple as a viable product in the work place.  Since the introduction of the iPhone and later the iPad IT managers have started to reconsider.  Still Apple’s OS X computer hardware remains underutilized in large businesses.  36% of those surveyed said that their company officially supported Macs, 39% claimed that Macs are tolerated but not officially supported, and 25% stated that Macs are not allowed.  This is interesting when compared to the use of iOS devices in business.  50% of the respondents said that their company supported iPhones and 47% said that iPads were also supported.  Only 10% said that their company banned the use of iPhones and iPads.

Impeding Apple’s forward progress is a laundry list of issues that companies have with the technology giant.  51% of respondents were concerned with the lack of OS X and iOS critical applications.  36% cited an issue with IT’s understanding of Apple products and a disinterest in learning.  27% were of the belief that Apple products are too expensive.  Another 27% believe that Apple devices are just to0 hard to manage.  Apple is aware of these complaints and has been working hard to help businesses to integrate their product.  They recently release the Apple Configurator which helps IT to mass configure iPhones, iPads, and even iPod touch devices.

As a result of the newest iPad release 7% of those surveyed said that they will increase their commitment to the iPad.  Another 4% said that they will now support the iPad.  32% were more cautious stating that the newest version warranted taking another look into the integration of the device into their business model.

While the growing interest in the iPad is great for Apple it is cause for concern for the company’s competitors.  Google has been slow to get into the mobile enterprise market and has shown their own faults as far as integration and security.  RIM, the company behind BlackBerry, is especially affected by this news as they have held down the enterprise market for years.  While RIM still does register much higher in key enterprise areas than Apple, respondents rated Apple better in secondary areas like speed and performance.

Though the jury is still out on the future of the relationship between Apple and enterprise it seems that the newest iPad is closing the gap.  With both sides working for a better relationship it is possible that one day Apple and IT will not seem like strange bedfellows.  Only time will tell what the future holds not only for Apple, but Google and RIM as well, in conjunction with enterprise and IT.