iOS to become mission critical in the UK?

In the 1990s, Windows 95 sold over 250 million copies, making it the OS of choice for businesses, schools and government institutions. More recently it sold over 450 million licenses for Windows 7. The software is so commonplace that philosopher Slavoj Zizek accused Bill Gates of having ‘privatised part of the general intellect’ – collective knowledge in all its forms including science and practical know-how. Can the same now be said for Apple’s omnipresent products?

From the iPod classic to the iPad, businesses and other institutions use Apple devices to perform their core activities, and it recently emerged that Barclays thinks the company could sell 135 million iPads by the end of fiscal 2013.

So what are the signs that the device, which enables powerful network computing on-the-go and already oils the machinery of its own sales machine, the Apple Store, will be embedding itself in IT infrastructure over the next decade?

For one, the tablet technology has seduced those in the British government, who aren’t typical early adopters of technology. Earlier in the year the price of Apple’s iPad, and other tablets, was incorporated into inflation rate calculations.

More recently, the Media and Communications Service at the House of Commons agreed to pilot the use of iPads among Members of Parliament to reduce expenditure on paper and improve environmental performance. Whether they’ll be getting an Apple iPad 2 or a different model hasn’t been revealed.

Prime Minister David Cameron is also known to use an iPad. Despite only recently learning that “LOL” meant ‘laughing out loud’ and not ‘lots of love’, he uses a custom-built service on his iPad to help him stay on top of government business and the stories of the day.

But there are only 650 MPS in the UK – a small number compared to the staff of the UK National Health Service – the biggest employer in Europe with 1.7 million workers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The prospect of all these employees using Apple’s tablet would cause a neat spike in their sales charts – but is it on the horizon?

One hospital trust in Bradford, Yorkshire would like to try rolling out up to 1000 iPads to staff to avert the use of “shed loads” of paper by clinicians.

Brent Walker, chief information officer at the trust, told Guardian Professional: “The usability of software coupled with the device meant that this was a very attractive proposition, and from a business perspective, iPads are literally a third of the price of the traditional PCs we were looking at before.”

How ubiquitous are Apple products in your work place?

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