iPhone 5 and the Enterprise: How to Make the Best Business Decision

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-09-18 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 enterprise, right?

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 – 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 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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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