Let's have a recap about the inroads iOS has made over 2011. Apple has been doing well all over, as you all probably know, but added to that have been some largely unnoticed inroads into the medical market via iPads.
Sure, on an iPhone you can get a free app that uncannily accurately measures your pulse (well, it does mine) using the light from the iPhone 4/4S light to shine through your fingertip, measuring changes in the intensity of your blood (or something - Heart Rate), but there are some rather more seriously considered apps out there, too. Why? Because Apple actually has a dedicated medical market manager, Afshad Mistri, who was profiled recently by Wired magazine.
Mistri is behind the dedicated iTunes store section for professional health care apps. This section includes apps like iMIMS New Zealand, which has lists of NZ approved medicines, and the similar NZULM, both free. A bit more globally, there are manuals, aids, guides to body bits and systems, handbooks, blood pressure companions and plenty more. There's even an app called Unbreak Your Heart, that helps you cope with breakup loss - although most seem a lot more ... professional, in essence, let's say.
Mistri has organised conferences on how to use the iPad in medicine, and while much of the iPad's use in medical settings so far has been in the form of pilots and trials, it's getting ready to take off in a much bigger way.
And I don't mean surgeons watching Happy Feet on iPads when they should be fixing your intestines - The Veteran's Administration in the US is looking at rolling out as many as 100,000 tablets across 152 hospitals based on the success of the 1500 trial iPads currently in use. Over 80 per cent of US hospitals have similar trials in place, according to recent comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
And why is the iPhone 4S more beloved than its predecessor, the iPhone 4? Apart from being twice as fast and with a better camera, it seems to come down to Siri. The iPhone 4 satisfied 93 per cent of respondents, with 72 per cent reporting being "very satisfied" and 21 per cent saying they were "somewhat satisfied." The 4S had 77 per cent of users report being "very satisfied" and only 19 per cent saying they were "somewhat satisfied" - all improved figures over the popular 4S.
And it was Siri that topped the list of users' favourite features, with 49 per cent of respondents saying they liked it better than any other aspect. Ease of use came in second (39 per cent), and the much-improved 8 megapixel camera was in third place, with 33 per cent of respondents ranking it highly.
According to Gartner in mid November, Android had 52.5 per cent global smartphone market share, Symbian 16.9 per cent, BlackBerry 11 per cent, Bada (what?) 2.2 per cent and Microsoft just 1.5 per cent.
Apple's iOS was at a respectable, though hardly world beating, 15 per cent.
But in business specifically, the iPhone had emerged as the market-share leader with 45 per cent. Apple had edged out BlackBerry (down to 32 per cent of the market) and Android had 21 per cent, having just surpassed Nokia.
This is surprising because the biggest anti-iPhone drum beaten over the last couple of years was 'It might be great, but it ain't great for enterprise'. That criticism now looks utterly redundant.
This was reported by Forbes.
It's a bit like the situation with Macs a few years ago. You could do all the same things with cheaper Windows computers, with much greater choice, but it took you a lot more work juggling systems, updates, availability and your own depth of knowledge to make it work. If you tick all of those boxes, have fun with your Android.
BlackBerry maker RIM even said uncle (figuratively, anyway) and made some iOS software! RIM announced in late November that its Mobile Fusion BlackBerry Enterprise Server software would "bring together" mobile device management for the BlackBerry, as well as the iPhone and smartphones based on Google Android.
A RIM vice-president for enterprise product management told Reuters the company wants to become "the de facto platform" for mobile device security used by business.
Interesting segue perhaps, but security is what gave the BlackBerry its leading position in business and government circles for so long. More about the RIM defeat from Cult of Mac
It's not just RIM. High-profile PC makers HP and Dell look like they're preparing to "gradually phase out" of their tablet efforts, leaving the market to Apple's iPad, and the also successful, although differently-positioned, Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes and Noble Nook book-reader tablets.
iPad seems to have pretty much held it's preeminent position. There are some other great tablets out there, I'm sure - it's just a shame nobody wants them. Rising numbers of unsold non-iPad tablets have caused an inventory backlog for the maker of Gorilla Glass, which accordingly cut it's fourth-quarter sales forecasts.
Apple appears to be using up to 88 per cent of the tough glass maker's output!
iPad and MacBooks may be selling well (Apple's fourth-quarter sales of laptops exceeded all expectations), but Acer continues believing there must be a market somewhere for its netbooks. The head of the company's Chinese operations said "emerging markets" could boost vanishing profits.
What are "emerging markets"? The Third World. And Apple certainly can't be accused of catering in any way to Third World clients. More's the pity.
Fancy getting your great app idea built by the full resources of Carnival Labs? Submit your App idea to this Carnival Labs competition, and the one judged best by a panel of judges wins the entire Carnival Labs team for one day. Learn more here.
iTunes vouchers go to for five lucky re-tweeters, too, so get to it. There's a FAQ page here.
Meanwhile, the holiday season will play a little havoc with blog appearances, both here and on my own mac-nz.com, so I left a bumper ten-tip iOS special last a whole weekend (only because I'm going away).
These normally occur every Friday (called Five Tip Friday) and they are up for 11 hours or so, but if you miss(ed) it, sign up for my free emailed monthly MagBytes PDF newsletter and the month's tips and other info is all collated for your use and enjoyment. This slot is normally taken up with Mac tips, but loads of us have iDevices and loads more will have, after Christmas.
MagBytes comes out on the last Thursday night of every month. It's free, and the list is guarded, private, contains no obligations - and you can opt out any time.
Have a good Christmas, Happy New Year and all that, and above all, please drive safely and courteously.
- Mark Webster mac-nz.com