Tomorrow’s world reflects yesterday, and the same is true for technology. That’s why the future of enterprise IT will be led by Apple — because solutions from that company are what the next generation of employees already use at home.

Moonage daydream

This reflection is based on a recent Piper Sandler survey, which confirms that nine out of 10 US teenagers already use an iPhone and 88% expect their next smartphone to be made by Apple.. In fact, the number of teens using iPhones has doubled during the last decade: in 2012, 40% of teenagers owned an iPhone. 

“We think these positive trends can also be a catalyst for further services growth as well, as the install base for Apple hardware continues to grow,” Piper Sandler said.

These Generation Z/Alpha teenagers are the first group of young people to be born and bought up entirely in the 21st Century, and their expectations in the years ahead will reflect that. This means they are used to digital devices and computing, have grown up using Apple’s equipment at home, and have watched as parents worked from home during the pandemic, giving them a sense that autonomy is possible. In a few short years, this generation of people will enter the workplace and will demand that where they work reflects their experience.

Modern love of tech

We know Millennials and Gen Z already expect to use the same hardware at work as they do at home. Piper Sandler’s survey suggests this expectation will only intensify in the years to come, and human resources departments will have no choice but to meet that need. 

Employee choice has already become an HR issue, but in the future it becomes an absolute necessity. If you want to run a business, you’ll need to offer up Apple.

You’ll also face great pressure to empower new workers in many other ways, from shared values to autonomy to the development of digital employee experiences.

Given that this generation will include a huge number of young people who have used social media to communicate for most of their lives, business leaders will be under more pressure than ever to adopt tools for digital collaboration.

This is going to be wind beneath the wings for tech firms developing tools of this kind — for Loom, Boomerang, Guru, Notion, Asana, Monday, and many others seeking to replace presenteeism with goal-focused digital collaboration spaces. (Meta’s big problem in attempting to build that space is teenagers don’t use it.)

Management will also be forced to change its approach. The future manager will need to be a great communicator capable of using digital tools to manage teams around goals and company vision. Authenticity and empathy are in. Authoritarian presenteeism are out. Soft skills are essential within a digital age.

Under pressure

It’s important to note that some of these new workers will have used handheld electrical devices since before they were a year old. They use streaming services instead of traditional TV, and when they reach the workplace will have seen more extreme weather events than most of us expected to experience in our lives.

They will care about sustainability and won’t make the same fossil fuel mistakes their grandparents made. These iPad Babies will use iPhones, Apple Watch, and Macs.

When combined with a rapidly declining PC market in which Apple’s Mac sales currently represent the one shining star, it seems clear, at least to me, that these trends are set to continue.

At the same time, the iPad will continue to evolve to handle many more tasks PCs (and Macs) traditionally were used for. This incoming wave of digital natives will be more willing than any before to use tablets instead of desktop or notebook PCs.

If I’m right — and Piper Sandler’s data suggests I am — then all these trends combine to herald a brand new golden age for Cupertino.

Oh, you pretty things

There are numerous additional trends pushing things in this direction, but eventually even the most denialist PC hawks will need to accept this new Mac world.

It’s a world in which Apple is no longer the scrappy consumer/creative computing underdog because the rebel rebels and the crazy ones pushed things forward. Instead, the brand becomes synonymous with how we live, work and play. After all, for almost 90% of US teenagers who will soon enter the workplace, that’s exactly what it has already become.

These young Americans show us where are we now.

I imagine Apple execs would be dancing in the streets, if they weren’t quite so worried for TSMC.

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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