Apple's announcement yesterday on a new high-end iPhone running its new iOS7 operating system got lots of attention for improvements in things that consumers care about: fashion, entertainment, photography, device protection, and health, for example. My colleague Charles Golvin went deeper to analyze what these improvements mean to Apple's prospects as a premium phone maker.
Perhaps lost in the coverage was what the combination of new hardware and new software means for how businesses can use iPhones at work. The battle now is for business application developers and vendors, and Apple is on it. The formula for business success has become great products + great features for developers to harness + a great way to distribute and sell custom and commercial business apps. Apple's announcement yesterday focuses on the first two elements of that formula:
- A focus on management APIs in iOS7 gives business software vendors new hooks to provide business-ready solutions. My colleague Christian Kane has written a Forrester report on the five major improvements in the control APIs. While an iPhone will never natively provide all the lockdown that a security-conscious CIO might want, Apple has consistently listened to the needs of mobile device and mobile application management. With these new APIs, the ecosystem of security and management vendors can ramp up their products to support CIOs rolling out BYO iPhone programs. Already, MobileIron has talked about what it will do to take advantage of this.
- Fingerprint scanning on the iPhone 5s and an activation lock in iOS7 open new doors to enterprise security. My colleague Andras Cser has written about what Touch ID means for the security of the iPhone 5s. My take is that consumers are right to be paranoid about their personal data being snatched off a lost phone and that Apple is helping solve that problem. But the payoff for business developers is that they have even more assurances that data is safe on an iPhone. If only the CEO can unlock the phone to get to the app, a CIO can rest a little easier that the financial results are safe.