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Small business iPad use quadrupled to 34% in 2011, survey says

A new study shows that Apple's iPad is the fastest growing technology in the small business market, with usage quadrupling in 2011.

According to a national survey by The Business Journals, small business iPad use leapt up from 9 percent in 2010 to 34 percent last year. Meanwhile, a total of 75 percent of small business owners said they were "very or somewhat familiar with the device."

The survey sampled more than 1,400 business owners, CEOs and presidents of companies across the U.S. that had between five and 499 employees.

Godfrey Philips, the company's vice president of research, viewed the iPad's success as part of a larger trend within the industry. "Our research has shown that for small business owners, productivity and efficiency, which used to be the central benefits of technology, are now declining in importance compared to accessibility," he said.

Philips went on to say that business owners have turned to the iPad, smartphones and cloud computing to help them access their data wherever and whenever they want. As a result, those three solutions are "experiencing significant growth."

The demographics of small business iPad users skewed toward the more successful. The average annual household income for iPad owners in the survey was $176,000, while 72 percent of users indicated that they had a college education. Companies that were deploying the iPad had been around for 28 years on average and made an average of $9.2 million in annual sales.

Apple is expected to enjoy continued success for the iPad among businesses in 2012. According to one survey from The NPD Group late last year, 73 percent of American businesses with less than 1,000 employees planned on buying the iPad in the next 12 months. A separate survey from Forrester Research predicted in January that enterprise spending on Apple products will increase by 50 percent this year.

iPad 2

The Cupertino, Calif., company has said it is experiencing "unprecedented" iPad adoption in business. CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed during a quarterly earnings conference call in January that nearly all Fortune 500 companies are actively using the device.

The arrival of the third-generation iPad, expected to be unveiled later this week at a media event in San Francisco, is likely to give lift to sales of the touchscreen tablet. Apple's event takes place at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, on March 7, and AppleInsider will have full coverage. Recent indications suggest the new iPad will feature a Retina Display and a faster processor and possibly 4G LTE connectivity.