Apple iOS 5 and Business Customers: A Sign of Things to Come?
I admit: I’m an Android guy. I have an Android phone and a Motorola Xoom tablet. But I’m also aware that Apple iOS 5 and iPhone 4S have arrived. Each day this week I’ve open my inbox to dozens of emails from MSPs and mobile device management (MDM) providers announcing iOS 5 support. But how will Apple impact the IT and managed services market?
I turned to Tekserve IT Director Aaron Freimark for perspective. Freimark has been helping enterprise businesses integrate Apple products for over 25 years. “We put an emphasis on understanding the culture change that comes with working with mobile devices,” he said. Freimark attended the latest Apple Development Conference and was using the iPad 2 in beta mode for several months. Freimark also runs a website called EnterpriseiOS.com — a community-base site that focuses on the iPad and iOS in the business world. Here’s his take.
“Some people will say they’ve been waiting their whole lives for iCloud,” Freimark joked. “But I think this is really an incremental increase from iOS 4 to iOS 5.” Friedman did say the iOS 5 has larger implications for enterprises rather than SMBs because enterprise companies are generally the ones putting MDM into place, while SMBs are turning to managed service providers to help leverage MDM. Some of the best features of the new platform Freimark has seen so far? You guessed it: Device security. More specifically, the ability to managed individual applications on devices – something Zenprise Chief Marketing Officer Ahmed Datoo touched on earlier this month when Zenprise announced iOS 5 support.
Freimark said something else that caught my attention: It’s a big challenge for IT departments to work with Apple. I’ll let him explain: “The iPad is effective for users because there’s no operating system and no configuration. You just have an app that you run. For an IT department or an MSP, the OS (operating system) is always the level we plugged into to run things like antivirus. It always ran underneath the user level. You can’t do that with the iPad.”
A trend to follow: Friedman noted that MDM software providers are now trying to differentiate themselves by integrating the iOS 5 with help desk software. “We’re starting to see the future of MSP’s,” Freimark said. “They’re not only monitoring desktops. They’re monitoring mobile devices and doing this like patch management. I think that makes a lot of sense for their businesses.”