Corporate customers who are planning tablet purchases next quarter overwhelmingly picked Apple’s iPad, a research firm said Tuesday.
Of the 1,000 business IT buyers surveyed last month by ChangeWave Research who said they would purchase tablets for their firms in the coming quarter, 84% named the iPad as an intended selection.
That number was more than ten times the nearest competitor and was a record for Apple.
“The percentage reporting they’ll buy Apple iPads has jumped to the highest level of corporate iPad demand ever seen in a ChangeWave survey,” the company said in a blog post.
Apple’s share of future business purchases has never been lower than 77% in any ChangeWave survey, which go back to November 2010.
Just over a fifth of all IT buyers — 22% — confirmed that they would be purchasing tablets for employees in the April-June quarter, ChangeWave said.
While Apple’s stock among corporate buyers rose by seven percentage points from the 77% that tapped the iPad as their preferred device last November, all other tablet makers’ numbers dropped in the most recent survey.
Skype, which is being gobbled up by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, debuted a new service on Thursday allowing users of Android phones to make free video calls to Skype contacts, including those on Apple iPhones.
The company whose name has become synonymous with Internet calling said its updated Android app would initially support video calling on selected HTC and Sony Ericsson Phones, with more devices to follow shortly.
“We are committed to bringing Skype video calling to as many platforms as possible,” Skype’s product and marketing chief Neil Stevens said in a statement.
The move will help makers of phones based on Google’s Android software compete with Apple’s FaceTime video-calling service launched last year for the iPhone and now available on its iPad 2 tablet and Mac computers.
Video calling could also help new Skype owner Microsoft promote its Windows Phone smartphone platform, which it is merging with Nokia’s in an effort to become competitive with Android and Apple.
Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs returns on Monday to the stage at San Francisco’s Moscone center to unveil what investors hope will be the next source of growth for the world’s most valuable technology company.
Jobs, who has been on medical leave for several months and last took the stage in March to present the iPad 2, will announce the iCloud, a Web-based service that lets consumers stream music they bought to any Apple device, pitting it against rivals Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
That expansion into cloud computing is seen as necessary if the company is to stay competitive with increasingly popular open-sourced software, such as Google’s Android operating system, according to analysts and investors.
The iCloud has the potential to make Apple’s iTunes even more powerful, making it tougher for rivals to keep up, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said.
“It looks like Apple will likely offer some base service for free,” Wu said. “Competitors, including RIM, Google, Amazon and Microsoft already have a hard time competing with iTunes as it is, but we believe will likely find it even tougher with iCloud enhancements.”
Verizon Wireless is still evaluating whether or not it will carry the PlayBook tablet computer from Research In Motion, the biggest U.S. mobile operator stated on Wednesday.
While BlackBerry maker RIM had said it expected Verizon Wireless to be one of its distribution partners for PlayBook, the company said it has yet to make such a determination.
“We’re still evaluating the BlackBerry Playbook and have not made a determination as to whether we’re going to distribute it,” Verizon Wireless Spokeswoman Brenda Raney said.
The comment came the day after PlayBook debuted at North American electronics retailers.
Apple’s next-generation iPhone will have a faster processor and will start shipping in September, several sources with direct knowledge of the company’s supply chain said.
The production of the new iPhone will start in July/August and the smartphone will look very similar to the current iPhone 4, one of the sources said on Wednesday.
The iPhone -debuted in 2007 with the touchscreen, on-demand application template now adopted by its rivals- remains the gold standard in the booming smartphone market.
Reports on the timeline of the new iPhone launch vary, though it is largely expected that Apple will likely refresh its iPhone 4 later this year.
The sources declined to be identified because the plans for the new iPhone were not yet public. An Apple spokeswoman in Hong Kong was not available for comment.
The iPhone is one of Apple’s most successful products, with more than 16 million sold in the last quarter of 2010 and the product accounted for more than a third of the company’s sales in the quarter.
The current iPhone 4 was launched by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs in June last year and began shipping the same month in 2010.
Motorola announced on Twitter that the Android software update for the Xoom tablet is being pushed out in phases starting March 11, which includes enhancements to support the upcoming Adobe Flash Player 10.2.
Launched on February 24, the Xoom was pushed out to the market with some seemingly rushed, half done features, just so it arrived on the market before a new iPad. Despite certain hardware advantages over the original and new iPad, the Xoom flaunted 4G radios, SD card memory expansion and Flash support. However, none of these features were actually operational when the device launched. Read More….