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How the iPhone begat shadow IT and enterprise mobility

Lucas Mearian | June 30, 2017
While Apple hasn't missed the enterprise boat, its success is due largely to the popularity of the iPhone.

As Hochmuth noted, it's not as if Apple hasn't been making "a ton of money" with its approach to businesses in recent years. But as the rate of iPhone adoption slows, which it has, Apple should look to the enterprise as a place to grow. That doesn't mean more iPhones in the enterprise, but it does mean more enterprise-focused software on existing devices.

Apple has already teamed up with a variety of enterprise application vendors, including SAP, IBM and Cisco.

More than two years ago, Apple partnered with IBM to create the MobileFirst for iOS initiative, which resulted in more than 100 industry-specific enterprise applications designed from the ground up for the iPhone and iPad.

In 2015, Apple partnered with Cisco to help optimize networks for iOS devices and apps, including integrating the iPhone for use with Cisco enterprise environments.

Last year, Apple partnered with SAP to deliver a new iOS SDK and training academy for developers, partners and customers. The goal: to make it easier to build native iOS apps tailored for business needs.

And just this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked up the company's enterprise efforts at Cisco Live.

While it may be partnering with more enterprise-level vendors to bring specific business uses to its devices, iOS still lacks key features, analysts said. For example, it lacks multi-user device support and granular app-level controls. If, for example, a user wants to have Microsoft Word on their iPhone or iPad, it's automatically tied to a work profile and there's no other way to use it except as a work application.

Google, however, created Android for Work -- APIs that allow users to create one profile for work apps and another for personal use. For example, a user can split their Gmail account into a personal version and work version on the same device.

"iOS still has a bit of a ham-handed way in dealing with application management in giving you a work and personal version of an app," Silva said. "Android lets you have multiple users associated with a single device, where iOS has been roundly criticized for not doing that on iPhones and iPads, except for education."

Even in the recent unveiling of iOS 11, there was no mention of multi-user support.

Regardless of any current shortcomings, the iPhone far and away still enjoys the majority share within enterprises because it is considered the most stable and consistent of the mobile platforms, and it has key, built-in features businesses appreciate.

For example, when an iPhone connects to Wi-Fi networks, iOS randomizes the address so it's harder to track the devices. Android devices, up until recent versions, stored a user's home Wi-Fi data "that it would then broadcast as Starbucks and ask, 'Hey, is this network here?'


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