Surface gaining on iPads in US government usage — which is why we need the ‘MacPad’

Here’s another reason why I think we need a “MacPad” (a tablet running OS X): the adoption of Surface tablets is on the rise by the U.S. government, while the use of iPads is declining, according to the “2016 Federal Tablet Market” report.

Apple’s iPad and iOS still lead, but Apple is rapidly losing market share to Microsoft Surface and Windows. Apple made a strong initial splash with a “first mover” 98% market share in fiscal year 2012 (FY12), but lost share in subsequent years. Apple sits at a 61% share in FY15. The most dramatic annual drop was in FY15 with a 20 percentage point fall from FY14. 

As Apple dominance waned, Microsoft grew from virtually zero share in 2012 to a 25% share in 2015. While a solid third in the market, Android saw notable growth from 4% in FY14 to almost 11% in FY15. 

The report says that Windows tablets have eaten into iPad’s market share by “rapidly integrating into PC-based workflows and adapting to customer requirements.” As for why Microsoft devices are becoming the preferred replacements for iPads, the study reveals that the increased productivity on offer with the hybrid approach is appealing for these organizations. 

This is doubtless due to the fact that the Surface devices run Windows, which still dominates the personal computer operating system market. Though Microsoft’s operating system dominates the enterprise/business world, the Mac is gaining. Cisco Systems, once adamantly an anti-Mac company, now has about 20% of its users on Macs (that's 35,000 Macs). IBM now has 130,000 Mac and iOS devices deployed and is adding an additional 1,900 Macs each week.

Many folks like me find that the iPad Pro is a swell device, but not a laptop replacement. In other words, it doesn’t fit into my daily (OS X-based) workflow as I wish it could. Some folks have called for a “padOS” for the super-sized iPad that would offer a visible file system, mouse/trackpad support, etc. 

In other words, a Mac OS X-ized version of iOS. Wouldn’t it be easier to add touch support to Mac OS X and give the world a “MacPad.” Macs (desktops, laptops, and tablets) could still run OS X, while iPhones, iPads, iPod touches, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs could still run iOS (and its spin-offs, watchOS and tvOS).