Apple has made the iPhone more enterprise-friendly with almost every release of iOS, but some might say the company’s popular smartphone still isn’t ideal for business. When I say “some,” I mean Samsung. The Korean company just released a strange new advert to promote the enterprise features of its Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, and it couldn’t help but bash the iPhone and even BlackBerry devices at the same time.
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Last week FileMaker launched a new campaign to encourage businesses to adopt the company’s flagship database product line as an app development platform for the iPhone and iPad. The move is unique and the idea of FileMaker as an enterprise development solution does have its appeal – creating FileMaker apps requires no software development knowledge or experience and it can deliver native performance and functionality that HTML 5 web apps can’t.
While many Apple fans and IT professionals that support iOS devices in the workplace are eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s Apple announcement, a group of Apple in the enterprise experts are meeting at MacSysAdmin 2012 – a conference for European IT professionals tasked with managing Macs and iOS devices in business, education, and other workplace settings. The annual conference traditionally posts videos of its sessions online for free (as does the Penn State MacAdmins Conference that was held in the U.S. this spring).
That isn’t the only major conference for Mac and iOS IT professionals, however. October brings two other major events (one of them free) and there are a number of excellent smaller events scheduled throughout the fall.
Apple will launch the next iPhone (presumably named the iPhone 5) along with iOS 6 tomorrow. The new iPhone is expected to pack a range of updates that will make it a much more significant release than last year’s iPhone 4S. The biggest expectation is that the iPhone will include 4G LTE support and that, unlike the new iPad, it will support LTE bands used outside of North America.
We won’t know all the details of the iPhone 5 until Apple’s unveiling at the Yerba Buena Center. There are, however, three important issues that business users and IT managers will need to in mind during and after following tomorrow’s launch event – all three of which could have a significant impact on bring your own device (BYOD) programs that encourage users to bring their personal mobile devices into the office.
The success of devices like the iPhone and iPad in healthcare has become so pronounced that the Department of Health And Human Services has begun to single-out the use mobile devices as part of the meaningful use requirements for electronic health records (EHR) systems. In addition to identifying mobile device use, the agency has also taken steps towards explicitly regulating mobile device security needs in the healthcare industry.
Could IBM’s Watson replace Siri? That’s an interesting question and IBM’s answer appears to be yes. Big Blue is working to turn the supercomputing solution that made news when it beat Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter into an app that could run on a smartphone. If successful, IBM will turn Watson into a supercharged version of Apple’s digital assistant.
Apple has released a new white paper for CIOs, IT leaders, and IT professionals. This one targets FileVault 2, which was introduced in Lion and remains present as a high security feature in Mountain Lion. The 42 page document joins a growing collection of white papers and guides available from Apple that detail the mechanisms and best practices for integrating Macs into Windows-centric enterprise environments.
At VMWorld, this week VMWare showed of Horizon Mobile for iOS – an enterprise solution that separates business apps and content on an iOS device from a user’s personal apps, documents, and data. It’s an iOS version of a tool that VMWare previously demoed, but hasn’t yet shipped, for Android devices. While the name and the goal of Horizon mobile is essentially the same on both platforms, the company is taking a vastly different approach for iPhones and iPads.
Not only is the iOS approach different, it’s also nowhere near as revolutionary – other mobile enterprise companies have using similar approaches for a while and the one truly distinctive feature is one that Apple might not approve for distribution.
With the release of iOS 6, Apple will offer business users a range of new features. A few of which are VIP email filtering (already in Mountain Lion) with custom notifications, more options when declining a phone call on the iPhone, much-needed privacy options, and Apple’s new Do Not Disturb feature – which should help some mobile professionals to “switch off” after work and maybe even get a good night’s sleep.
iOS updates are generally designed to be user-friendly and easy enough that anyone can manage to install them. As with any major OS or business critical software upgrade, however, there may be unforeseen issues with iOS 6 – particularly when it comes to internal iOS apps and iOS access to enterprise systems.
An iOS 6 upgrade policy and strategy is something that every IT department should have in place before Apple releases iOS 6. For businesses that actively support user devices in the workplace through a BYOD (bring your own device) program, that upgrade strategy is even more critical.
Ahead of the launch of Parallels Desktop 8, Parallels has launched a crowdsourced “Apple In The Workplace Barometer” that allows businesses or individual employees to see how their workplace ranks in terms of BYOD readiness for Macs, iOS devices, and other technologies. The site offers a quick and simple questionnaire that asks workers (or managers) about their work computing tasks, resources, and company-provided options. At the end of the survey, their company is plotted on a grid that measures active adoption of Apple technologies and active IT support for Macs, iPhones, and iPads.