New iPhone, iPad Pro give businesses true flexibility in selecting Apple products

 In End-User Devices, Hardware

Monday’s Apple event might not have dropped the next bombshell, must-have, industry-changing product, but it certainly showcased some new hardware that will transform businesses. Apple turns 40 on April 1, and its new hardware demonstrates the company’s evolution in its offering to businesses large and small.

The event was wide-ranging, moving from encryption to recycling to CareKit and ResearchKit.

But Apple announcements are all about the hardware. Apple’s new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro both offer new tools for the enterprise, in a move that presents organizations a growing list of more specialized options that fit specific employee roles with fewer compromises. At the same time, Apple is helping admins better support these tools with several MDM features now live in iOS 9.3. Let’s take a look.

March 2016 Apple event takeaways

iPhone SE: The small and powerful phone

Inside the iPhone SE is the same beefed-up A9 processor and 12 MP camera that’s already featured in the iPhone 6S. But it comes in a smaller package, with only a 4-inch screen, starting at $399 for the 16 GB model.

This is a workhorse phone that’s capable of acting as the brains in a mobile POS or scanner, used for tracking inventory or deliveries, and even potentially aiding health care professionals. Though its processor gives it significant power, the iPhone SE’s size means it’s small enough to fit in the pocket of an on-the-floor salesperson or delivery driver. Plus, the phone is still perfect for firing off an email, attending conference calls, or closing sales from the road.

iPad Pro 9.7-inch: An iPad for your power users

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which has many of the same internal components and features as the larger 12-inch version, improves the user experience through an enhanced display that almost reads like paper – it’s incredibly smooth and refined, and ambient light sensors automatically adjust the screen’s brightness based on the lighting. It features an A9X processor and similar specs to the larger iPad Pro.

Boosted with Apple Pencil functionality, this smaller iPad can become a laptop replacement for many users, including more specialized employees who are often on the go. The C-suite in particular could be drawn to the functionality and size of this tablet. And employees who spend a lot of time in the field will be interested in the smaller form factor that doesn’t compromise on power.

Greater MDM functionality

While iOS 9.3 got a lot of press attention for consumer features like Night Shift mode, it also enables new MDM functionality for both supervised and unsupervised devices.

Now that iOS 9.3 is available, here’s what’s possible for all managed devices:

  • Home screen layout control. Admins can now control the layout of apps, folders, and web clips. This can be useful especially for organizations looking to establish training documents – they can set the home screen to reflect to instruction documentation.
  • Notification settings. Administrators can choose not only which MDM-installed apps are allowed to generate notifications, but what style they generate — whether modal, banner, alert, or sound notification — as well as whether they appear in the notification center or on the lock screen.

Even more features are now available only for supervised devices:

  • MDM supervision notifications. iOS 9.3 adds additional labels to let users know their device is supervised. This is a good reminder to users that they shouldn’t use the device as if it were a personal one.
  • Enable and disable apps. Supervised devices will now allow for true blacklist/whitelist capabilities, enabling admins to control which apps are allowed to run and which ones are disabled. Previously, there was no way to stop a user from running an app other than disabling the App Store as a whole. This is a feature that highly regulated businesses should be taking advantage of.
  • Safari auto-fill domains. You can now control which websites users can save passwords for. Administrators can create a whitelist of sites that they deem secure for storing user credentials. If a site is not on the list, users will not be permitted to save their credentials.

Flexing to your business’s needs

It seems Apple has fleshed out its iPhone and iPad offerings to cater to many different business needs – for the power user, the specialized role, the road warrior, and the masses. The iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro allow companies more flexibility in their mobile device deployment by offering new sizes and functionalities that help organizations pick the right device for the right job.

The iPhone SE is powerful enough at the right price point to be used for a number of tasks across an organization, and the smaller iPad Pro is a smart choice for field employees if they want a laptop replacement that doesn’t break the bank.

Instead of one more thing, Apple on Monday showed it’s creating many new things to fit more specialized roles and tasks with the power and attention to detail it brings to all its devices.

Find out more about these products and applications by contacting your SHI representative.

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