Apple has made it on to a list of five companies that are "widely perceived to be the best qualified to implement new technologies that will advance genomics research".
Research by life sciences market research firm BioInformatics found that Apple, Cisco Systems, Dell, IBM and Microsoft were highly regarded by genomics researchers.
Regarding the findings of the research, Apple's director of Science and Technology Markets, told MacCentral "We are really pleased. It's nice when you know that you have a great solution and you hear things from your customers about how much they're enjoying it and how productive it is, but then to see it broadly reflected in a piece of research like this is really gratifying."
BioInformatics asked 600 genomics researchers which technology vendor they prefer. This was one of the largest surveys ever of scientists who use information technology to make sense of the huge volume of genomics data being generated in research labs.
BioInformatics president Bill Kelly said: "The genomics market for IT solutions is still fragmented and many scientists are only now beginning to appreciate the powerful role IT will play in their research. It appears that many scientists are relying on brand associations formed in the consumer market when naming the IT vendors qualified to develop and install life science solutions."
Kelly added: "IT vendors need to understand that they can play a role at each stage in the genomics value chain. The process begins with the acquisition of data from analytical instruments and progresses through data processing, analysis, distribution and storage. The challenge facing scientists is that this is a heterogeneous hardware and software environment, which makes it difficult to integrate multiple application tools and disparate data."
Apple is taking its role seriously and intends to take its message to the science market. At the end of March Apple will launch a road show across the US that will focus on high performance computing in the sciences.
Kerr explained: "One of our challenges has always been to let the community know how serious we are about this market and to make sure they understand that. Anyone that was doubting our commitment to providing across the board solutions stopped when they saw the servers and storage solutions we've come out with over the last six months," she added, referring to hardware releases like the Xserve G5 and Xsan Storage Area Network File System.
"Clearly with OS X [and its UNIX base] we stopped being a niche player. That's one of the reasons we are seeing so much success in this market – this is the market that gets that more than any other. This is also the market that benefits from that in a very practical way more than any other," Kerr said.
The findings of the report are published in BioInformatics' report entitled: Information Technology in the Life Sciences: An Examination of Genomics Researchers.