What Apple’s iPhone X announcement means for the enterprise

 In End-User Devices, Hardware

In case you haven’t heard yet, Apple has some new phones. Among them is its long awaited 10th anniversary iPhone—the iPhone X, which has been dominating headlines.

But what’s earning less attention are some of the more enterprise-focused ideas that Apple tucked away in its consumer-centric presentation. Here, we’ll bring them to light, and explain how Apple’s new tech could continue to shape the business world.

Three new iPhones, lots of new applications

The iPhone has carried Apple forward in tremendous ways since it was first announced in 2007, and its upgrade cycle typically introduces big new features yearly. Not every iPhone update has been a complete paradigm shift, but even the smallest revisions have laid the groundwork for the future.

Apple’s strategy this year—launching the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and the iPhone X side by side by side—shows that the company recognizes it has different users with different needs. Luckily, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have many of the same technical upgrades—though not all of the showstopping spectacles—as the iPhone X.

Among these upgrades is the A11 Bionic processor, which actually outpaces many laptops in terms of performance. Not only does this enable more productivity, but it also makes way for functions that take up a lot of power. One is augmented reality (AR), which Apple has made more accessible than ever through the iPhone 8 and accompanying ARKit, which debuted with iOS 11. It expands the possibilities for everything from presentations and customer interactions to online shopping and employee training.

Another notable addition to the iPhone—available only on the iPhone X—is Face ID. Tested as not only faster than Touch ID, but also as more accurate and with 20 times less potential for false positives, Face ID is shaping up as the next step on biometric authentication. In addition, the TrueDepth camera used with Face ID on the iPhone X features a proximity sensor and an infrared light 30,000 dot projector to allow for greater augmented reality applications, and for attention tracking or to increase security of Face ID. While some of these applications haven’t come to light yet, it’s certainly something to watch for as users adopt iPhone X.

Putting the watch in the workplace

The Apple Watch Series 3 took a much-anticipated step, adding cellular connectivity, with or without the presence of a phone. This means that you can essentially access all the basic tools you might need, right from your wrist. While it won’t spell the end for the iPhone (you still need a phone for the initial set up of the watch), it could attract new users into the Apple Watch fold.

Of course, more users means more potential security concerns, especially if a watch is linked to sensitive business information. Apple has clearly thought through some of these implications: Apple Watch automatically locks when it loses contact with skin, has no accessible data ports, and its hardware and software carry the same encryption as your iPhone. For information security professionals, most aspects of Apple Watch can be managed through your organization’s MDM, and new hooks are likely on the horizon in light of the Watch’s new abilities.

The Apple of the future

Where Apple goes, most other tech companies follow. One of the least noted, but potentially transformative announcements from this event was that applications that once ran in the cloud, such as augmented reality, can be run directly from the new iPhones, thanks to their A11 Bionic processor.

For decades, computing has swung like a pendulum: away from us then back toward us. From the days of renting computer time from labs (away), to using personal desktop computers and local data on hard drives (toward), to applications and information stored or sent to be processed in the cloud (away). Now, it’s moving from rented time in the cloud to the palm of your hand—and Apple intends to lead that transition, with the A11 Bionic drastically outpacing competing mobile processors in performance.

Phones, watches, and software have all become demonstratively more powerful in this last Apple cycle, propelling that tech pendulum. Now we’ll watch businesses harness that momentum for both their employees and their customers.

For more information on deploying and using Apple products in your organization, contact your SHI account executive.

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