But to put it in Steve Jobs’ words, those people eventually realize that iPads are like cars while desktops and laptops are like trucks — the latter are the machines you’re going to use for number crunching, creating PowerPoint presentations or writing a detailed research report. Some of the executives of companies that pushed for iPads to be allowed on their corporate networks then will say, “Hey, if our IT guys figured out how to support iOS on our network, we can support Mac OS X.”

Charlie Wolf agrees that the effect is taking place. “The iPad is sort of like a Trojan horse that is loaded with Macs, and to me, that’s the big driver, even more than the iPhone,” he said. “There’s no way to explain the [recent] success of the Mac other than the halo effect — the twin halo effect — of the iPad and the iPhone.”

In the end, the uptick in businesses purchasing Macs isn’t necessarily coming in place of large companies buying Windows-based PCs, says Wolf. But there are several ways, either by new purchases or employees bringing them from home, that Macs are finding new ways to infiltrate the workplace.

The ultimate opportunity for Apple is huge if it is able to continue to ride the “iPad as Trojan horse” trend into offices. Especially when it comes to profits — after all, Macs can cost about twice what the $499 to $829 iPad does. Fuller says based on what he’s seen he wouldn’t be surprised if Apple could someday own a third of the enterprise computing market if it keeps this up. Of course, that’s quite a few years away, but based on the current size of the worldwide business PC market of about 100 million machines, that could mean 30 million Macs. And at $1,500 each, that could be a $45 billion market opportunity for Apple.

Or in the words of Wolf, “There’s a major opportunity for Apple to etch itself into the enterprise in a way we haven’t seen since IBM in the early days.”