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

transparent-smartphone-concepts

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..


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.


iPhone 4 and Its Impact on the Enterprise

Last week kicked off with a bang as Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco to announce the latest iPhone and the innovative capabilities it provides. Touting more than 100 new features, including FaceTime video calling and a very high resolution retina display, the iPhone 4 is poised to live up to its “game changer” billing by Apple.

Its impact will undoubtedly be felt by the enterprise as consumers’ fascination with the iPhone continues to grow. Companies can expect their employees to request – and yes, demand – support for the iPhone and other Apple devices. Enterprise Mobile customers are already gearing up to address user demand. They are piloting iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices – all based on the iPhone operating system, or iOS – carrying out proofs of concept for some very innovative mobility projects.

The latest enhancements will further drive iPhone adoption and provide greater choice for users. Those changes, plus advancements we can expect from Android and Windows Phone 7, are overwhelming IT. How can they effectively support technology they haven’t had a chance to use? Without an understanding of the best practices and processes needed to plan and roll out enterprise-scale deployments, CIOs are left to figure out for themselves – through trial and error – how to integrate very diverse platforms into their computing environments.

Rather than back away from the challenges, CIOs need to face them head-on. One proven, cost-effective alternative to handling all aspects of a mobility initiative in-house is to work with outsourcers. Our customers tell us they don’t have time to become mobility experts. That’s why they count on us to complement their skills and knowledge.

The mobility landscape is very dynamic, with devices and platforms changing at a dizzying pace. The rapid rate of change, coupled with an expanding mobile workforce, means that IT can expect to face increasingly greater challenges as it attempts to keep up. Expert services can provide some peace of mind.


White Paper Provides Sound Advice on iPhone Enterprise Deployments

A new white paper from Enterprise Mobile describes how companies can validate that the iPhone platform addresses user, technical and business requirements. “Certifying the iPhone to Ensure a Successful Deployment” is available for free download now. The paper outlines steps companies should take to plan and implement an enterprise-scale rollout, drawing on knowledge Enterprise Mobile attained through large iPhone deployments for companies in a variety of industries.


iPhone Line of Business Application Deployment

A lot of people don’t know it, but there is a way to deploy Enterprise Line of Business (LOB) applications to employee iPhones without using the Apple appstore.  It definitely has its caveats.  But, it’s worth knowing about.

If your company has 500 or more employees, you can buy an iPhone “Enterprise” developer license.  It’s a bit more then the “Standard” individual and company licenses, but not much.  For more on developer licenses, go here.

Once you have the license, you can sign your LOB apps with your certificate and provision them to company devices.  ”Enterprise” developer licensing allows what is called “Universal” application provisioning.  This is the same type of provisioning that is granted to applications deployed through the Apple Appstore and allows deployment of the application to any iPhone on the face of the Earth.

Wow, so with a developer license, you can deploy an app to any iPhone out there without going through the appstore….WRONG!  The “Enterprise” developer license EULA that you accepted dicatates that you are only allowed to deploy apps to iPhones operated by employees of your company.  Deployment to any other iPhones is illegal.  And, I’m absolutely sure that Apple is not going to stand by and let you break the law.

Well, you can deploy your LOB app to your company users and that’s the important thing, right?  At this point, you may be wondering how you go about deploying the application to the employee-operated iPhone.  There are currently two ways to do it.  Use the iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU) or use Apple iTunes.  Both methods are described in the Apple iPhone Enterprise Deployment Guide.

The caveat here is that neither iPCU or iTunes app deployment can be performed directly between the iPhone and a server.  Both iPCU and iTunes are desktop applications that run on either a Mac or Windows machine.  But, they do support two different scenarios.  iPCU is best if you want to setup a bulk number of iPhones with your LOB before giving them to the user.  iTunes is better for deployment of the app or on-going updates when the iPhone is already in the user’s hands.

When deploying the LOB app, you have to get your Enterprise Developer License .mobileprovision file installed on the iPhone before you can install a .app file.  You can deploy the .mobileprovision file using desktop management that you may have deployed in your network to offload this task from the user.  When the iPhone is connected to the desktop running iTunes, the .mobileprovision file will be deployed.  Then the user must add the .app to their app library and select to install it on their iPhone.


ATT iPhone Picture Messaging now available !

Finally the promised updated is here…

Starting today, ATT customers using the Apple iPhone can install an update that will allow them to send pictures and other multimedia to others via MMS – sometimes called by the general population “Picture Messaging.

Iphone-mms

 

Users can choose from the following plans:

For Individuals
Unlimited: $20
1500 Messages $15
200 Messages $5
For FamilyTalk
Unlimited: $30
Pay Per Use
$0.20 per text message
$0.30 per picture or video message

 

 

 

And to install the update on your iPhone, go here


iPhone turn by turn navigation

Every time we have a larger gathering of people, being it at my house for a party, at a lake for some water skiing fun or at the mountains for hiking and back country skiing there is a guarantee that in the 10 or so phones there is going to be at last couple of iPhones. What can I say, all of my friends are super cool and ride the technology fashion wave.

During the process of trying to help businesses to adopt iPhones as tools I run into couple obstacles. Some are small like the calendaring functionality and some were bigger.

However today, one of the large obstacles for using iPhone primary device was removed – TomTom has announced availability of their turn by turn navigation in the Apple App Store. It features some interesting technologies such as the one called IQ Routes, said the company. Instead of suggesting the quickest route based on travel time, IQ Routes taps into the actual experiences of other TomTom drivers to determine the fastest route to take. TomTom said this technology lets people reach their destinations quicker up to 35 percent of the time.

I prefer TomTom, mainly because on Windows Mobile, where I have been using it for years now, it allows you to select driving, walking biking and other types of transport, it uses my phone thus I don’t have to pay the extra 9.95 when renting a car for a dedicated GPS unit, has a great database for points of interest and I really like their performance and functionality. But they are not alone in providing turn by turn navigation for iPhone here are couple other solutions:

TomTom for iPhone – 99$ for US and Canada maps – more details here

Navigon – 69$ for US and Canada maps Comparison with iGo My Way is here

iGo My Way – 79$ for US and Canada maps Comparison with Navigon is here

Now only time will show if my friends will stop buying and using the sometimes bulky and overpriced standalone GPS units for their cars or paying for the software update in their car. One of them shared that to update the built-in navigation in a Japanese high end sedan it close to 700 US$! But I know that anybody who has an iPhone now has a good, reliable and well working alternative for turn by turn navigation How about you? Will you use iPhone instead of other GPS devices? Please share your opinion in the comments below.