Apple’s enterprise focus assessed: iPhone X, iOS 11, and more

In case you missed it, Apple held a small event earlier this week. Though a fair amount of what was unveiled was leaked previously, of course, it was official confirmation of the iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus, as well as Apple Watch Series 3.

All very nice – but what was there for the enterprise observer?

Not a lot, according to Michael Finneran. Writing for No Jitter, Finneran said the event “delivered little for the enterprise”, adding only the capability of augmented reality – Apple made announcements around its ARKit framework – had the potential to get the pulse racing from an enterprise perspective.

“Unfortunately, fancy screens and wireless charging are a poor counterweight to Siri, which has fallen woefully behind in terms of the speech recognition and natural language capabilities we’re seeing from Google and Amazon,” Finneran wrote.

This is a point echoed by Josh Garrett, president and co-founder of managed mobility services provider MOBI. Citing the iPhone X, he explains: “Candidly, many of the features Apple is rolling out – edge to edge screen, no home button and wireless charging, for example – have been standard in other brands’ phones for a few years.

“True Apple enthusiasts are excited, but the technology has existed in the enterprise for quite some time.”

The fact remains that Apple is the dominant enterprise mobile technology. Recent survey data from MOBI found that more than seven in 10 (71%) respondents manage Apple devices in the enterprise. Or take recent data from Egnyte, which found that of billions of ‘activities’, 82% of enterprise tasks were undertaken on iOS compared to Android.

On the device side, Garrett notes: “Whenever there is a new Apple release, there’s always a huge uptick in ‘lost’ and ‘suddenly broken’ older model iPhones. This has become much more apparent as consumer-focused as enterprise mobility has become.”

iOS 11, more often than not the poor relation in the device-heavy keynotes, could however be an area of progress. A post from Su Mon Kywe of Appthority discussed how the operating system will impact enterprise security through location services, and machine learning.

It was a similar theme posited by Roberta Cozza, Gartner research director. Speaking to IT Pro, Cozza said: “The enterprise grade enhancements that we have seen with the iOS 11 release will build further on the security and management foundation that Apple has built over the years, release after release, around security and manageability for the iPhone (and iPad).”

Appthority puts three recommendations for enterprises; take advantage of location privacy to reduce the risk of geo-data leakage; continue analysing and monitoring apps for risky behaviours; and begin monitoring the new capabilities introduced in iOS 11 to understand the potential risk of data exposure and loss.

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