Will the iPhone cause an Apple "enterprise halo effect"?

March 11, 2008 6:51 AM EDT

The well-documented but hard-to-prove "Halo Effect" of iPods in the consumer space over the past five years has arguably caused a rise in Macintosh purchases. Certainly areas like education have seen significant rises in Macintosh purchases among iPod toting students. But the enterprise is a different situation entirely.

Or is it?

The halo effect refers to a "cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait is influenced by the perception of the former traits in a sequence of interpretations."

In the case of iPods, the owners liked them so much that their perceptions of other Apple products were (rightfully?) inflated. The chances of an iPod owner buying a Macintosh increased. By extension, the Macintosh marketshare grew and continues to grow overall.

If the iPhone is a success in business, it could be argued that a similar halo effect could occur. Initial satisfaction reports from Changewave show that iPhone owners in business are significantly more satisfied with their iPhones than they are with other devices, even BlackBerries. And this is without iPhone 2.0 enterprise features.

Once Apple has its foot in the door of business, more opportunities will arise.

  • Apple's SDK will have IT developers hammering away on Macs (SDK is not available on Windows)
  • Deploying iPhones will likely require some Apple software - perhaps an enhanced Apple Remote Desktop - putting Apple enterprise software in IT workers' hands.
  • Satisfied Apple users will encourage IT departments to expand Apple's product line inside the organization
  • Having Apple enterprise accounts at large companies opens doors for Apple sales (a free MacBook with every 100 iPhones?)
  • The direct halo effect on IT workers who will likely want iPhones for themselves - and perhaps Macs

So will the iPhone cause an enterprise halo effect?

It is way too early to tell. However, if Apple executes the iPhone 2.0 as well as it has done for the iPod in the consumer space, every opportunity exists for an enterprise halo effect to open the door to Macintosh sales in the enterprise.