NEWS ANALYSIS: Now that the hoopla about the iPhone 5 is dying down, it's time to discuss whether Apple's newest phone is right for your enterprise, whether you'd be better off getting an iPhone 4S for less money or sticking with what you have now.
There's no question that the iPhone 5, while not exactly
ground-breaking, is a nice
upgrade to Apple's flagship device. It's faster, the screen is bigger and
it finally supports Long-Term Evolution (LTE). Considering that it costs exactly
the same as the iPhone 4S used to cost, it must be a perfect deal for your
Well, maybe. But
don't forget that the iPhone 4S is still available, and it costs a lot less
money. And the iPhone 4 is free with a two-year contract. So is the iPhone 5
really the best choice for your enterprise? The answer, as is always the case
with technology is, "it depends."
What it depends on is what you plan to use it for. Like
all smartphones, the iPhone is a very flexible piece of technology. You can use
it to make phone calls, of course, and you can use it for email, text
messaging, social networking and looking up stuff on the Internet. But you can
do all of those things with any smartphone â it doesn't have to be an iPhone 5.
In fact, it may be that the biggest advantage of the iPhone
5 is that it runs iOS 6, and that brings some very useful new features. But you
don't need to have an iPhone 5 to get those features.
"It's not so much the iPhone 5 as it is iOS6," said Jon
Wallace, director of Emerging Technology and Cloud Services at AppSense. "For
me what makes the iPhone really interesting is that the Apple ecosystem is
having a profound effect in some spaces, probably for the consumer. If we're
now entering the space where you bring your own device, it's inevitable that
they're going to penetrate the enterprise."
Wallace said that a little known feature of iOS 6, Guided Access,
while designed initially for the education market, is likely to be well suited
for interfacing with MDM (mobile device management) software to make the iPhone
significantly more secure than it is currently. He noted that iOS 6 includes
code allows control of the behavior of the home button, the power button and
even access to portions of the screen.
"You'll get better management tools," said Wallace.
But beyond iOS 6, Wallace said he didn't think that for many
enterprises the iPhone 5 offers much that the iPhone 4S doesn't. "I don't think
there's anything that's going to leapfrog into the enterprise," he added.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.