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Why businesses are embracing iOS 7

Joel Mathis | Oct. 8, 2013
If iOS originally snuck in the boardroom's back door and adapted, then iOS 7 strolled confidently in the front door, jammed with new features to help businesses protect their data, encourage intraoffice collaboration, and communicate with customers.

"The amount of people who have updated to iOS 7 is shocking," VMWare's Frieberg said. "I don't think Android is capable of that."

That's because it's difficult, said Mike Golz, the chief information officer of SAP Americas. "In the iOS space, it is easier as Apple delivers an integrated device, OS, and app ecosystem to bring users to the latest level quickly and across the board."

Free office apps: And, oh yeah, lots of experts like that the iWork suite of apps is now free for new iPhones running iOS 7—a move that "signals Apple's move to compete with Microsoft's free Office and appeal to the enterprise user," said Tim Panagos, chief technical officer for Point.io, which creates collaborative enterprise apps for businesses.

What's needed, what's next
Despite the list of goodies provided by iOS 7, enterprise experts said they still want more. Several, for example, said battery life could be better.

"You're not just texting. You're using this for email, you're using this for voice," DeCesaris said. "In enterprise, these batteries are draining faster."

Most of the wish-list items, however, were more abstract. Many said they'd like a return to less-fragmented days when nearly every worker in nearly every company carried a BlackBerry—for work purposes only—giving companies more control over their data and how employees communicate it.

For example, despite the arrival of Per App VPN and similar technologies, companies still worry that data might be leaked (purposefully or not) from their own apps into other apps an employee carries on a phone—a proprietary spreadsheet, for example, making its way into a worker's personal Dropox or Google Drive account, and then out into the world from there.

"They don't have a good conception of how to separate what's happening in a user's personal life and what's happening in a user's professional life," Good's Herrema said.

It would also help beleaguered IT departments, several experts said, if Apple and its rivals got together to create a single standard for enterprise uses. But nobody expects that.

Despite these shortcomings, the experts consulted by Macworld seemed uniformly impressed by iOS 7.

"It's pretty clear to me that Apple has put a considerable amount of time and effort into solving some of the challenges IT managers face while trying to balance the protection of corporate data and personal use," said Jonathan Dale, director of marketing at Fiberlink. "This release should have IT staff lining up around the block."

 

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