The Next Wave: New Mobile Devices

Until just a few years ago, if an upcoming device generated buzz, that device usually came from Apple. And today’s big event from Apple continues to bring lots of speculation. Apple still delivers great devices, but other players are making device innovation more competitive, going beyond the smartphone and tablet to bring information to you in new and different ways.

The World of Inspector Gadget

Leonardo-da-Vinci-Inspired-INSPECTOR-GADGET-T-Shirt-Threadless-600x559

Clip-on computers and “personal area networks” are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Wearable computers are becoming more and more prevalent—and it’s not just about dressing to impress. Visiongain, a UK research company, estimates that wearable technology is a US$4.6 billion business this year, with “explosive growth and high adoption rates” coming in the next five years.

Leading the way are health and fitness applications—health monitoring is an easy sell when it comes to wearable devices, which will be built into shoes, hats, and even clothing. But eventually, health and fitness applications will be surpassed by more general personal information applications. Imagine Apple’s Siri, but built right into the clothes you wear every day.

Another wave of the not-so-distant future is motion technology, which expands on the sort of capabilities you see in today’s Kinect apps for Xbox 360 and applies it to just about anything. It’s 3D interaction without even touching a device. From what I can see in the industry, it won’t be long before motion technology is part of our everyday lives.

But Back to Today

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Consumers already have a variety of mobile devices to choose from, and manufacturers are working quickly to deliver even more feature-rich products to market. But, just as twirling or “flaming” icons in an online ad don’t always result in more clicks, flashy new hardware and software doesn’t necessarily hit the mark for consumers. Consumers are increasingly aware of the need for a complete ecosystem of services, and I predict that providers who offer comprehensive services (such as Google, Amazon, and Apple) will receive more attention and better sales in the next few years as that awareness grows.

Later this month, consumers will have a chance to get their hands on Apple iOS 7, which is a giant leap forward in terms of major iOS releases. Apple is working to make iOS 7 devices more appealing to corporate users and organizations with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs in place through features such as:

  • Activation Lock, which prohibits a stolen device from being activated without the proper Apple ID accreditation
  • Application VPN, in which individual apps can establish a corporate VPN connection
  • Extended Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) features
  • Open In control, which dictates the apps that workers can use to open and share documents and attachments
  • Security updates to safeguard against non-trustworthy chargers and batteries

Of course, a few features, such as AirDrop for iOS (which makes it possible for users to share anything from any app using WiFi and Bluetooth), may be problematic for corporations that need to keep tight controls on their data. The jury is still out on whether AirDrop and other potentially troublesome features can be disabled through mobile device management. Stay tuned.

As I mentioned above, the coolest device isn’t necessarily the “must-have” device anymore. That’s certainly what I’ve seen with the Moto X and Samsung Galaxy S4, so I’m keeping watch on both of these products to see if there’s an uptick in consumer interest. And, as always, manufacturers are planning releases for the holiday shopping season, so keep your eyes open for new low-cost Android tablets, more Samsung devices (even wearables!), and an Apple announcement about two new models. It should also be noted that Android OEMs are coming up to speed with “kill switches,” similar to the Apple Activation Lock feature, as anti-theft mechanisms in their new devices—that’s good news all around for consumers.

Keeping up with the endless device launches can be daunting—savvy organizations turn to Enterprise Mobile to find the best devices to keep their employees happy and productive.

images via: Collider, Techcrates


Apple iOS 6.0.1 Update Released

This minor update appears to have address the Exchange Meeting calendar issues reported in the last 3-4 weeks. The update is about 50-70Mb in size and requires 787Mb of fee storage on an iPhone 5 to install. As described on the http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1606 page this provides the high-level details on what is included:

iOS 6.0.1 Software Update

This update contains improvements and bug fixes, including:

. Fixes a bug that prevents iPhone 5 from installing software updates wirelessly over the air (This appears to be a separate patch that is offered and installed before the iOS upgrade is offered. Go to Settings->General->Software Update)
. Fixes a bug where horizontal lines may be displayed across the keyboard
. Fixes an issue that could cause camera flash to not go off
. Improves reliability of iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation) when connected to encrypted WPA2 Wi-Fi networks
. Resolves an issue that prevents iPhone from using the cellular network in some instances
. Consolidated the Use Cellular Data switch for iTunes Match
. Fixes a Passcode Lock bug which sometimes allowed access to Passbook pass details from lock screen
. Fixes a bug affecting Exchange meetings

Security details are available here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5567

Rumors are also stating that a iOS 6.1 release will likely be released in the early Q1 timeframe. It is currently unknown what new features could be included.

Marco..


Apple iOS 6 – Microsoft Exchange Calendaring Issue

A bug has surfaced for iOS 6 users under some specific circumstances. It appears that several companies first reported in late September and it has escalated in recent weeks. It centers around meeting cancellation notices, which get broadcasted to all invitees not just the organizer.

As posted to this Apple Support forum thread, https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4351951, Microsoft and Apple appear to already working together to see if they can resolve it. Microsoft has a public article posted here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2768774.

Adam Glick from the Microsoft Exchange Team has also blogged about it with a few mitigation ideas: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/10/23/ios6-devices-erroneously-take-ownership-of-meetings.aspx

On the delegation related problems, this article may assist as well: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309185

An excellent recap, and history behind this bug that has been similar in the past is described here:
http://www.tuaw.com/2012/10/04/exchange-ios-meeting-hijack-history-goes-back-well-before-ios/

We are seeing several companies that are writing notices to their employees about this problem, and perhaps to wait to upgrade their devices to iOS 6 if at all possible. iOS 6 does have a large number of security updates, so depending on the impact the problem and how widespread it may be for your environment caution should be taken.

An upcoming iOS 6.0.1 update for keyboard, camera and Wi-FI bug fixes may also include other changes, but it is unknown at this time.

Marco..


iOS 6 Release – Technical Services Bulletin – September 13, 2012

How iOS 6 Could Affect Your Devices

On September 12, 2012, Apple announced plans to release the iOS 6 update to the public on September 19, 2012.

As with previous OS updates Enterprise Mobile expects that new devices procured shortly after the release will soon be installed with iOS 6 instead of the previously released iOS 5.1.1.

For legal, not technical reasons, Enterprise Mobile will not be able to downgrade newly procured devices from iOS 6 back to iOS 5.x. This may also impact old devices that are sent to Apple repair, which may return upgraded.
The following device types will be supported for iOS 6 and possible to upgrade:

- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 4 (CDMA & GSM)
- iPhone 3GS
- iPod Touch 4th Gen
- iPad 2 (WiFi, WiFi + 3G – CDMA & GSM)
- iPad 3rd Gen (WiFi + CDMA & GSM)

The legacy iPad 1st Gen will not be upgradable.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

It is not known if there are any new MDM features at this time included in iOS 6. We expect that the MDM vendors will make announcements with updated versions of MDM solutions in the next weeks/months.
Because the UDID feature has been deprecated in iOS 5, Apple has now removed the API used to retrieve the UDID in iOS 6. Please check with your MDM vendor if any updated clients or updated solutions are required to support iOS 6. This may include additional prompts the end-user may need to perform to enroll devices.
Note that there may not be time to update your MDM solution before the iOS 6 release. Enterprise Mobile strongly recommends that you have any iOS access version controls verified and possibly disabled if necessary to permit new iOS 6 upgraded devices to connect and access business critical functions. Enterprise Mobile can assist to answer any question you have with many of the MDM solutions.

Upgrading

If the iOS devices are already running iOS 5 or above and the devices have access to the Internet over WiFi towards Apple servers, an upgrade prompt may appear. End users have the option to download and upgrade their devices over-the-air (OTA) or tethered with iTunes. Some of your end-users will probably perform this upgrade on their own, on the first day the software is available.

Note that the upgrade may be fairly large in size (approx 700MB+) and could impact the telecom data plan of the iPhone or iPad and your monthly data plan costs. Please contact your telecom provider for more information.

Enterprise Mobile can assist if a large scale upgrade of devices is required, and can work with your internal support personnel to speed the process.

Testing iOS 6

If your company or you are developing custom iOS applications, you are likely a registered member of the Apple Developer program. Enterprise Mobile urges all developers to quickly and thoroughly test and validate that all their business applications run on iOS 6, with functionality retained. Initial testing can be performed with a beta release, but it’s important to test with the final release version of the operating system as in previous updates, Apple has continued to add features and bug fixes up-to the final public release.

The “golden master” or GM release of iOS 6 was made available to all iOS developers on September 12, 2012, one week in advance of the publicly available version.

iOS 6 Changes
This upcoming iOS release provides a slew of new features. While mostly geared to the consumer market, it may be beneficial to have knowledge of or promote the following list of business related features :

Hands free operation:
- Siri can read items from Notification Center
- "Eyes Free" allows car companies to build-in Siri integration

Passbook:
- A new application that manages a user’s boarding passes, travel loyalty cards and others
- Passes are updated in real-time if changes are made such as spending money on a store card, flight time updates, and gate changes
- Passes are location and time-based, appearing on the lock screen when relevant

Settings:
- "Bluetooth" is moved to the top of the Settings list
- Addition of "Do Not Disturb" mode, allowing users to avoid calls and notifications unless calling parties are on the user’s Favorites group
- New Privacy Controls in which apps must now ask for permission to access the user’s photos, calendars, contacts and reminders
- "Wi-Fi plus cellular" option added under "Cellular", to allow apps to use data over cellular if experiencing issues establishing connection through Wi-Fi

Phone:
- Addition of phone icon on lock screen for additional ignoring options, similar to the camera sliding icon on the lock screen in iOS 5.1
- When ignoring a call, the user can message the caller or set a Reminder to call them back later or send one of three customizable quick SMS response

Mail:
- VIP inbox stars important emails from user defined VIP group members
- Flagged emails inbox
- Open password-protected Microsoft Office documents
- Added Pull-to-Refresh gesture to update Mail accounts
- Per account Signatures

Contacts:
- Ability to Search All Fields
- Custom Vibrations for Text Message Notifications

Safari:
- Full screen landscape mode (for iPhone 3GS and newer; iPod Touch 4th Gen and newer)
- iCloud tab syncing across iOS devices and Macs
- Offline reading list caches the user’s reading list for later use, even when not connected to the Internet (not available for iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 4th Gen
- Faster JavaScript engine
- Support up to 25 open tabs on iPad

YouTube:
- Removed as an integrated app due to an ended licensing deal with Google. Google created a stand-alone YouTube app for the App Store that is available for download as of September 11, 2012

Lost Mode:
- If the iPhone is lost, Lost Mode triggers an attention grabbing sound, prompting the person who finds the iPhone to call a specific number set by the owner remotely

Networking:
- Global Network proxy for HTTP
- IPv6 support for Wi-Fi and LTE

Security:
- Addition of Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)

AppStore:
- Updating an app no longer requires the iTunes password to be entered
- Installation of free apps without an Apple ID (This feature appears to be removed since beta)

Accessibility Guided Access:
- Allows user to lock exiting of the app in Single App Mode
- Allows users to disable certain controls within a specific app
- Locks the home button from being used to act like a kiosk

Marco..


iOS 5.1 Release – Technical Services Bulletin – March 7, 2012

As previously published back in October of 2011 when the last major iOS release was announced and released, here is some fresh information on this latest update to iOS 5.1 that may be useful.

How iOS 5.1 Could Affect Your Devices

On March 7th, 2012 Apple announced plans to release the iOS 5.1 update immediately to the public.

As with previous Apple iOS updates (please see http://blog.enterprisemobile.com/2011/10/ios-5-release-technical-services-bulletin), Enterprise Mobile expects that new devices procured shortly after the release will soon be pre-installed with iOS 5.1 instead of the previously released iOS 5.0.1.

For legal reasons, Enterprise Mobile will not be able to downgrade newly procured devices from iOS 5.1 back to iOS 5.0.1. This may also impact old devices that are sent to Apple repair, which may return upgraded.

iOS Changes

The full listing of the iOS 5.1 security updates can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5192

The Safari privacy vulnerability and a long list of WebKit (Safari browser engine) have been patches. Also the Password unlock and Siri vulnerability have been patched.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

It is not known if there are any new MDM features at this time included in iOS 5.1.
Because you may not be able to update your MDM solution before the iOS 5.1 release, Enterprise Mobile strongly recommends that you have any iOS access version controls verified and possibly disabled if necessary to permit new iOS 5 upgraded devices to connect and access business critical functions.

Upgrading

If the iOS devices are already running iOS 5 or iOS 5.0.1 and the devices have access to the Internet over WiFi, an upgrade prompt may appear. End users have the option to download and upgrade their devices over-the-air (OTA) or tethered with iTunes.

This is an example of the prompt that may appear:

Please note that the upgrade may be fairly large in size (approx 200Mb) and could impact the telecom data plan the iPhone or iPad using and your monthly data plan costs. Please contact your telecom provider for more information.

Please note that some of your end-users that will perform this on upgrade on their own, on the first day the software is available.

Enterprise Mobile can assist if a large scale upgrade of devices is required, and can work with your internal support personnel to speed the process.

Testing iOS 5.1

If you, or your company, is developing custom iOS applications, you are probably already a registered member of the Apple Developer program. Enterprise Mobile urges all developers to quickly and thoroughly test and validate that all their business applications run on iOS 5.1, with functionality retained. This can be done with a beta release, but also importantly with the final release version of the operating system as Apple is previously known to continue to add features and bug fixes up-to the final public release.


iOS 5 Release – Technical Services Bulletin

As a service to our customers Enterprise Mobile routinely issues Technical Services Bulletins on important topics.

How iOS 5 Could Affect Your Devices

On October 4th Apple announced plans to release the iOS 5 update on October 12th, 2011 at midnight PST.

As with previous OS updates, Enterprise Mobile expects that new devices procured shortly after the release will soon be pre-installed with iOS 5 instead of iOS 4.3.2.

For legal, not technical reasons, Enterprise Mobile will not be able to downgrade newly procured devices from iOS 5 back to iOS 4.3.2. This may also impact old devices that are sent to Apple repair, which may return upgraded.

This may impact applications, automated MDM rules, and end-user support.

Testing iOS 5

Enterprise Mobile urges all iOS customers to quickly and thoroughly test and validate that all their business applications run on iOS 5, with functionality retained.

Most ISVs have been testing iOS 5 during the beta cycle and have updated the Apple AppStore with the updated software versions. After the final iOS 5 release is obtained and validated, they may need to update their applications in the AppStore. Third-party application development firms that build custom applications may also need to go through a similar process and customers may need to obtain updated application binaries.

Enterprise Mobile can provide assistance for customers that need help with detailed testing.

Upgrading

To install iOS 5 on compatible iPhone, iPod and iPads hardware, tether the device to a Mac or PC that is running iTunes and follow the upgrade prompts.

Please note that some of your end-users will perform this on upgrade on their own, on the first day the software is available.

Enterprise Mobile can assist if a large scale upgrade of devices is required, and can work with your internal support personnel to speed the process.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Many MDM vendors are preparing new versions of their products to add additional functionality and validated iOS 5 support.

Until iOS 5 is released on October 12, MDM vendors cannot publically disclose what new MDM features it provides or what they will support. This is mandated by a separate NDA they have signed.

Because you may not be able to update your MDM solution before the iOS 5 release, Enterprise Mobile strongly recommends that you have any iOS access version controls verified and possibly disabled if necessary to permit new iOS 5 upgraded devices to connect and access business critical functions.

Enterprise Mobile will release another Technical Bulletin once additional information on the iOS 5 MDM features is made public.

iCloud

Apple iCloud is a new feature that will enable syncing of photos, music, and documents between multiple devices. Applications present on the AppStore will not be backed up, but instead they will automatically become re-downloaded from the AppStore if your device is restored from your iCloud backup. Every Apple ID will receive 5 Gb of storage free of charge. iCloud does not support multiple Apple IDs if used on the device for personal and corporate applications.

We do not know yet whether it will be possible to manage the iCloud features or settings from an iOS 5 supported MDM solution.

Over-the-Air Updates

The iOS 5 release is the first iOS version that can provide over-the-air (OTA) updating of the OS itself. This will be advantageous to most enterprise customers as it eliminates the need to keep devices tethered to a Mac or PC to retrieve updates.

Apple has not announced whether there will be any future MDM settings to control the OTA update functionality. Some enterprise customer may want to control the flow of updates and ensure production support.


Expertly Deploying the iPad to Business Users

The iPad certainly has been a game changer for the enterprise. At Enterprise Mobile, we’ve seen significant interest among our customers, who are finding compelling reasons to adopt the tablet for their business. They come to us for help deploying the iPad to their employees and for user support and device management services.

Now, we expect business users to explore even more ways to use the tablet, as the much-anticipated iPad 2 arrives on the market. It’s thinner, lighter and faster than the original, and sports front- and rear-facing cameras, which will appeal to users across industries.

Enterprise Mobile has been busy helping companies bring the Apple tablet into their environments in a way that enriches the user experience without jeopardizing corporate computing policies.  We’re working with companies that don’t have the internal expertise to achieve that balance alone – and lack the time needed to understand the full range of requirements for an iPad project.

As a result, companies are turning to our mobility architects, who have spent considerable time gaining experience with the iOS platform and the different mobile device management (MDM) solutions that allow enterprises to manage iOS devices (the iPad,  iPhone and iPod touch) with confidence.

For organizations in diverse industries, including airlines, media, pharmaceuticals, and the food and beverage market, we deploy iPads to employees. We also handle end user support, as well as ongoing device management for the iPad (installing and administering the MDM solution that’s right for a company’s particular business and technical needs). Since most companies have little experience with the tablet, they rely on our expertise to address everything that’s needed for a speedy iPad deployment and successful ongoing initiative.  

Read our iPad case study to learn more about how we’re helping companies take advantage of the elegance and versatility of the iPad.  It describes how Enterprise Mobile deployed more than 1300 iPads to an airline’s pilots and how we provide end user support and replacement services to ensure that the pilots can productively use the iPad in place of the huge technical manuals they would otherwise lug into the cockpit.


Mobile Platform Diversity Promotes the Need for Help Desk Support

According to a recent article in Computerworld, help desk calls have been increasing, while help desk budgets were being trimmed. The piece summarizes research by HDI (formerly the Help Desk Institute) that found that 67% of all help desk operations saw jumps in the number of incidents reported in 2010. The article also reports that a recent survey by Computer Economics revealed that IT organizations have cut help desk staffs, from an average of 6.9% of total IT staff to 6%.

At a time when companies are supporting two, three, or even four mobile platforms, the need for help desk support couldn’t be greater. Users of mobile devices, not surprisingly, are often out on the road, where they depend on their smartphones and other devices to stay in touch with customers and colleagues and maintain access to critical data and documents. For these users, support is critical.

As companies add newer mobile platforms like Android and Apple iOS to their environments, user needs and the amount of technical savvy required to address them become increasingly complex. As a result, at Enterprise Mobile we’re fielding more requests for our mobility support services. Many IT groups either cannot find people with the expertise needed to support multiple mobile platforms or do not want to hire additional help desk personnel.  With our services, companies can define the SLAs they need to keep their users productive and pay predictable fees to meet their needs. 

I’m not surprised to read that the number of help desk incidents has been on the upswing. Our people are on the receiving end of many of the calls users are placing. They’re fielding user questions about the different types of smartphones used in the enterprise, as well as the iPad and iPod touch and rugged handheld devices that run on Windows Embedded. They also answer questions about mobile apps, OS upgrades, and carrier service. As mobile devices take on a greater role across industries, Enterprise Mobile will buck the trend. Our mobility support services and help desk staff will grow to keep pace with the demand and effectively support the major smartphone platforms.


Announcing New iPad Mobility Services

The iPad’s popularity is undeniable.  If you don’t already have your hands on one, it’s likely that the tablet is on your Christmas wish list. 

Beyond personal use, the iPad is also proving to be a compelling device in a wide variety of business verticals, including healthcare and finance, and sales and education. Industry analysts are advising their enterprises to start planning now for how they will use and support the tablet as enthusiasm for the device in the workplace continues to grow.  

At Enterprise Mobile we are seeing a tremendous amount of interest in the iPad among our enterprise customers and are happy to be able to respond to their needs.  Our new iPad Mobility Services  address all of the requirements of a successful iPad rollout.  They include assessment, procurement, provisioning and configuration with customer-specified applications, ongoing user support and device depot and management.

Here are just some scenarios in which customers are relying on our services:

  • A global pharmaceutical company is equipping some of its sales force with iPads for sharing information about medication and other data to hospital-based providers
  • A leading multimedia company is providing executives and other personnel with iPads for accessing corporate information
  • A large financial firm is distributing iPads and about 30 Apple App Store applications to employees to allow them to access and process corporate information.

 You can read more about these services on our website.