Believe it or not, we’re only a week away from the launch of Apple’s latest and greatest iPhone. As more than 241 million people from all over the world eagerly count down the days until the iPhone 8’s debut, many are wondering how different the next generation of Apple smartphones will look and feel. But with the rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs in the workplace, another question to consider is what new features does this next-generation smartphone need to succeed at the enterprise level?
In today’s business environment, companies that lack around-the-clock data connectivity and communication simply can’t survive. As wireless carriers roll out more powerful Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks and brand-new 5G technology to move corporate data faster than ever, Apple’s future products need to be able to support these blazing-fast connections. If they can’t, don’t expect to see a dramatic change in the company’s enterprise penetration rates anytime soon.
Like most modern devices, iPhones lack the hardware required to connect to high-speed 5G networks—the outsourced modems currently used in Apple’s handsets simply can’t support that level of connectivity. Unless the organization starts manufacturing its own internal smartphone components, it’s difficult for businesses to predict when (or if) they’ll see this capability.
Mobile-minded enterprises rely on applications to get the job done. Employees are asked to juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities every day, so why shouldn’t a company’s mobile device selection(s) be held to the same standard? Newer iPads already offer this exact feature. By expanding multitasking abilities to iPhone users, employees will be able to work out of two or more applications simultaneously for the first time. The omission of this capability would be particularly glaring since Google just announced plans to roll out a similar feature in its Android Oreo update.
While Apple hasn’t officially confirmed or denied this feature’s availability in future mobile devices, there has been an encouraging discovery. After reviewing some of the organization’s earliest iOS 11 code iterations, developers have reportedly found that options for dragging and dropping items between different applications already exist. More than likely, that means iPhone multitasking abilities are on the way.
For on-the-go employees, finding the right time and place to power up devices isn’t always easy. It’s so inconvenient, in fact, that equipment manufacturers have already created a long list of smartphones that recharge wirelessly—the iPhone thus far has been noticeably absent from that evolution. Thankfully, it looks like enterprises won’t have to wait long for this to change.
A patent filed by Apple last September describes a detailed design for what the company is calling its “inductive charging station,” leading many experts to believe that the iPhone 8 will be the first of its kind to boast wireless charging capabilities. If that’s indeed the case, workers that use this device down the road will be more flexible and productive than ever before.
There’s nothing mobile device makers obsess over more than screen size. The challenge for Apple (and everybody else in the industry) is making a display that’s both large enough to interact with and small enough to keep the phone itself comfortably snug inside pockets and small travel bags.
By taking a page or two out of the competition’s book and making the iPhone display edge-to-edge, Apple can accomplish both of those things. Additional screen real estate not only makes a mobile device easier to use, but also increases each user experience’s functionality and interactivity.
Biometric Authentication Options
TouchID forever changed the way manufacturers think about physical device security. Since then, however, other device creators have developed and implemented newer, more effective biometric authentication methods that comply with corporate-grade security policies (like face detection and iris scanners, for example).
Adding safer biometric authentication options into the enterprise mobile security equation eliminates the need for employees to remember iPhone passwords, giving them a more reliable, secure, and convenient sign-on experience instead.
Increased Data Storage
Mobile applications are becoming more and more essential to enterprises with each passing day. As the amount of data and feedback produced increases, device storage space grows increasingly more valuable. Cloud storage solutions certainly help, but a virtual office environment should have plenty of room to store essential facts and figures.
Industry innovation is also nudging Apple toward increasing its standard device storage capacity. While today’s iPhones feature at least 32GB of storage space, several new Android models offer at least twice as much. Despite doubling this minimum just over a year ago, it may very well be time for Apple to consider doing so again if it hopes to keep pace in the enterprise market.
Every company uses and evaluates its mobile assets differently. By innovating and incorporating these six features into the iPhone, however, Apple can position itself as a leader in both the consumer and enterprise mobility markets.
Josh Garrett is President and Co-Founder of MOBI, a company offering cloud-based software solutions for enterprise mobile device management.