According to Flurry, productivity and utility apps are more popular in China and Japan than they are in the United States. In Mobile Pioneer countries (such as the US and UK), allegedly around 6% of the population use productivity apps on iOS, down to around 3% for Android. People are more likely to use apps that entertain them, provide news or information about their daily lives more than for productivity.
Yet, people do use their phones for productivity – possibly more than the stats above reveal. Using maps to find the quickest way to a destination is helping towards productivity. Using Notes, Voice Recorder, Calendar, task management apps and even the camera can all be used for effective productivity. Each operating system comes with its own benefits and tools. At the unveiling of the iPhone 5C and 5S, Apple disclosed that its iWork suite has become the most popular and profitable productivity suite across all platforms – and is now free with new devices.
This is actually quite a significant move. In addition to making iWork free for new iOS devices, it is now available through internet browsers, for free. With the growing popularity of iOS in business, making the suite free and having access in the cloud could start displacing Microsoft Office.
Of course, there would be a large amount of irony if this were to happen. Microsoft’s early success came from writing software for Apple. Eventually the relationship deteriorated when Microsoft introduced Windows. Fast forward to 1997, and Apple was close to going bust. But Steve Jobs back at the company, a deal with Microsoft was revealed that ultimately helped save Apple.
Back to the main point. iWork isn’t the only player. Google Drive is one of the best tools for online productivity. While it may lack some of the gloss and features that iWork brings, it is fantastic when it comes to collaboration, ease of use and accessibility. With the combination of highly polished mobile apps, the free software proves to be highly useful.
The ability to edit documents on the move, without having to rely on a laptop, is a huge benefit for those using mobile devices. It is of course nothing new though. PDAs and some feature phones were capable of it years before the iPhone and Android burst onto the scene. The main difference now though is the ease, connectivity and choice of software.
Any company, big or small, can make use of the plethora of software available to us on mobile. iWork, by Apple’s estimates, has become the most popular mobile productivity software. Making it free to new devices is certainly a benefit of buying into iOS (and saving yourself £20.99 in the process – every little counts!).
From a personal perspective, ever since getting an iPad in 2010, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with just how much you can create on it. People lombast tablets for being consumption devices – and yes, they aren’t replacements for laptops. You can get far more done on a laptop than a tablet, but when you are out and about or sat on public transport; the iPad with iWork and other tools make for a compelling content creation use case.
Apps like iWork and Google Drive open your eyes up to how apps can be used in your daily work life. The onscreen keyboard is proficient enough but paired with a bluetooth keyboard, you can be more focused by using a tablet. With Apple’s A7 chip introducing 64-bit for the first time to mobile devices, we should see a few more tricks coming our way.
By Robert Haslam, PR/account manager

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