The average iPad consumes 400 percent more data over Wi-Fi networks in a month than does the average iPhone, iPod, or Android device, according to a report released yesterday by cloud-networking provider Meraki.
Looking at data usage this year compared with 2010, Meraki also found that mobile devices are now outpacing PCs among all devices that tap into Wi-Fi networks.
Apple's iOS and Android are the most commonly used mobile platforms, accounting for 58 percent of all devices accessing Wi-Fi networks, compared with 33 percent a year ago. iOS devices make up 47 percent of all Wi-Fi devices versus 32 percent last year, while Android has grown to 11 percent among the Wi-Fi devices tracked by Meraki, up from just 1 percent in 2010.
In contrast, computers running Windows and the Mac OS declined among all devices using Wi-Fi networks to 36 percent from 63 percent a year ago. Specifically, Windows-based PCs shrunk to 23 percent from 42 percent last year, while Macs fell to 13 percent from 21 percent in 2010.
The results shouldn't come as a big surprise given the surging demand for mobile devices. In December, research firm IDC forecast that by 2012, shipments of mobile devices would overtake those of personal computers, according to CMS Wire and other sources. IDC expects mobile-device shipments to reach 462 million next year, while PC shipments will hit 448 million.
To compile its data, Meraki said that it anonymously surveyed over 100,000 random devices accessing public and educational Wi-Fi networks. The company examined both bandwidth and mobile operating systems and compared their usage between the first half of 2011 and the first half of 2010.