Chuck Goldman thinks that Apple’s new iPhone 5 is a great phone for the enterprise, and he’s in a position to know. Goldman, who was Apple’s director of enterprise field engineering, was the guy who launched the original iPhone for the enterprise.
“I launched the original iPhone in 2007 in Apple’s enterprise data program,” Goldman told eWEEK in a phone interview. “The apps transformed the value proposition.” However Goldman said that at first there wasn’t any real support for enterprise users of the iPhone. When it was first launched “iOS 1 had no enterprise applications at all,” Goldman said. Then, “iOS 2 was a substantial innovation,” he noted.
When Apple launched iOS 2 in 2008, it included the ability to work with Microsoft Exchange, it supported VPNs and had a number of other enterprise features said Goldman, who today is the founder and chief strategy officer at Apperian, a company that specializes in mobile application management software for every mobile device.
“The iPhone 5 is a great step forward,” Goldman said. “The main thing is the screen and processor. You get the ability to use longer email lists, and you get more screen real estate.” Goldman said that the better performance and the increased screen size mean that you can do things with apps that wouldn’t have worked as well on devices with smaller screens and slower processers.
The ability to use 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, combined with the other features, meant that app developers could create “visually stunning apps,” Goldman said. He contends that some of those apps, such as the Passbook, may revolutionize e-commerce.
“After developing and deploying hundreds of enterprise and mobile commerce apps, both at Apple and now Apperian, I can honestly say that Passbook will transform the way businesses interact with iPhone users around payments,” Goldman said in an emailed comment to eWEEK. “We aggregated many of these requests and sent them to Apple, and they delivered big time with Passbook. I predict it will be one of the standards around mCommerce in the future.”
However, Goldman said he was surprised that Apple didn’t complete their commerce effort with near-field communication (NFC). “The lack of NFC is interesting,” Goldman said. “Big companies like Wal-Mart are not going with NFC. NFC is the preferred direction for mobile commerce, but adoption is very slow.”
“It costs a lot to equip all of these POS [point of sale] terminals with NFC. That’s probably why Apple didn’t do it,” Goldman said. “That’s really where Apple’s focus is, the consumer.”
But Goldman said that he really expected to see NFC in the iPhone 5. “I was really surprised myself, given that it’s the standard. I guess they read the tea leaves a little different,” he said.
iOS 6 Delivers Important Features for Enterprise Users
Goldman said that while he thinks the new hardware is a big benefit for the enterprise, the real difference is in iOS 6. “iOS’s new icon-based sharing is a key new feature for enterprise as people’s personal and business worlds continue to collide rapidly,” Goldman continued in his emailed comment. “IOS 6 makes sharing content with colleagues when remote insanely intuitive and will be a huge feature for enterprise. Users will appreciate the ability to create content once and share it both with their friends and business associates at the same time.”
“The new mapping in IOS will also have major benefits for developers as they look to use core location as metadata to make enterprise data smarter,” Goldman explained by email. “For instance, when a salesperson uses turn-by-turn information to get to an appointment, developers can now integrate it with CRM data to add information like sales orders and other information that loads in the background so the salesperson can have all that information on one dashboard just in time for the meeting.”
In both his comments and in his phone interview with eWEEK, Goldman noted that many of the critical enterprise features are really features of iOS 6, and not necessarily features of the iPhone 5. He noted that while many of those features and apps will run faster, and perhaps be easier to use on the iPhone 5 because of the faster processor, LTE and the larger screen, they will still be available on the iPhone 4S.
That brings us to a difference that’s often overlooked in the hype on the eve of the iPhone 5’s arrival in stores. Ultimately, there are two different products that smartphone users can buy; one is the hardware of the iPhone 5. The other is iOS 6, which is a substantial upgrade from iOS 5. The majority of the new features ascribed to the iPhone 5 are really features of iOS 6. And it’s important to note that you don’t need an iPhone 5 to run iOS 6.
The bottom line is that unless your enterprise actually needs the larger screen, LTE connectivity and the faster processor, there’s no reason to spend the extra money on an iPhone 5. If your workforce is mostly using email and messaging, for example, the iPhone 4S is probably entirely adequate, and it’s a lot less expensive.