The Apple iPad phenomenon is truly remarkable. While some suspect this is just a fad, we here at Citrix believe that tablet computing is becoming part of the workplace DNA. And we’re not the only one. That’s because people aren’t just talking about iPads; they’re using them. They’re voting with their dollars and buying these devices in droves. According to this Infographic by Fast Company’s Co.Design, “a whopping 14% of online shoppers say they plan to purchase an iPad in the next five months.” That’s 28 million people, according to their calculations. And they say total iPad sales are expected to rise 1,000% by 2014. That’s some hockey stick! And Gartner just predicted that by 2013, 80% of businesses (yep, 80% of businesses!) will support a workforce using tablets*. So those 28 million people aren’t just using their iPads for fun.

Inevitably, these devices will make their way into the enterprise. In fact, this is already happening today. I wrote here about our recent Citrix survey of nearly 5,000 people that shows adoption of iPads in the workplace is gaining serious momentum. The top two work activities that people want to do on their iPads are (1) read and respond to business email and (2) view, edit and create documents and presentations. Perhaps most telling is that an incredible 91% of respondents said they want to access business productivity applications like Microsoft Office on their iPads.

The good news is that Citrix Receiver enables all of these new tablets and smartphones to run Microsoft Windows, transforming them from entertaining consumer gadgets into serious workplace tools. This is another example of why the partnership between Microsoft and Citrix is so significant. Together, we make it possible for users to have everything they love about Windows and all of their go-to business applications on any device of their choosing.

The only problem is that many IT departments are unaware that they can securely support Microsoft Windows on these devices using Citrix Receiver. Which is why we encourage everyone to visit and join the movement to help IT professionals learn how Citrix Receiver empowers them to deliver Windows and Office applications to iPads, Droids or the latest Chrome OS-based Notebooks, making these devices secure, viable and productive options in the enterprise.

This is a profound change for our industry and promises to open many new doors for Citrix and Microsoft – as well as the thousands (even millions!) of users who want to access Windows and Office applications from any device they may choose, anytime, anywhere. Behold the future of virtual computing.

* Gartner’s Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2011 and Beyond: IT’s Growing Transparency, November 2010