Scott Hayes | 3 October 2013
Apple’s Big New Bite – It’s been just over a week since the new Apple releases and already more than 10 million iPhone 5s’ have been purchased and there have been more than 200 million iOS 7 downloads. But what new features do the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 offer its users?
What will the new iPhone 5 features bring to businesses?
First, I want to look at the iPhone 5s' two big new features, TouchID and the 64-bit A7 processor.
The standout feature, and the one Apple's marketing team have gotten the most excited about. No longer do you have to enter a passcode, just press the Home button and place a finger or thumb on the TouchID sensor and iOS 7 unlocks your iPhone.
The feature has of course received quite a bit of kick-back from users and security experts, with many questioning how secure the new technology is. The big question that everyone seems to be asking is, "How easy is it to bypass?" Well, the answer seems to be notthateasy. It is definitely achievable, especially if you're anything like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible with access to latex, chemicals and some serious background knowledge, but most of us are not and don't.
So what are the benefits of this functionality? Well, currently, around 50% of iPhone users don't bother setting a passcode, simply because it "takes too much time" to re-enter the passcode each time the iPhone is locked. With TouchID it's just press, scan, done! So now there is no excusenotto have a passcode on your iPhone.
A7 64-bit processor
To me, TouchID is not the most exciting news about the iPhone 5s, it is the A7 64-bit processor. It was less than a decade ago when PCs ran on a 32-bit processor, but can you imagine going back to less than 4GB of memory? The same transformation is now underway with mobile phones. Developers now have more memory to play with, faster response times from applications, and graphics that allow you to see the smallest details that you'll even forget it's on a mobile phone.
OK, at the moment, the 4GB memory barrier is not an issue, but at the rate that technology changes, you can imagine it will only be a few years before memory does become an issue. By then, most (if not all) apps will be 64-bit ready to take advantage of the power of 64-Bit processor. So, it may not be that exciting to most at the moment-but the update represents the future of mobile devices.
What will the new iOS 7 features bring to businesses?
Before I get on to the new iOS7 features, a quick mention about the new look of iOS. From my own, simplistic point of view, things either look 'cool' or 'not cool'… Van Gogh's "Starry Night" looks 'cool', an Aston Martin looks 'cool', Concord looks 'cool', the old Central Library in Birmingham looks 'not cool', most modern art 'not cool'. I'm sure those with a graphic artist type mind could say a lot more but to me, the iOS 7, looks 'really cool.'
There are literally hundreds of new features in iOS 7, but I only want to talk about a few of them for now.
Activation Lock can give total peace of mind. If you lose any iOS7 device (iPhone, iPad), or even worse if they are stolen - simply enable the Activation Lock from iCloud.com, which will render the device useless. Not even Apple is able to remove the Activation Lock, so the device becomes about as useful as a chocolate fireguard. In fact, it's considered such an important feature in the fight to stop thieves that the New York Police Department were handing out fliers to iPhone owners explaining Activation Lock and how to turn on "Find my iPhone".
Open in management
The Open in management app enables IT departments to create rules for how documents open in apps. The IT department are now able to define which apps and accounts can open them certain documents. This has a valuable data security benefit, it means that it no longer matters if a user leaves and takes all their data with them on the device. If their corporate user account is deleted, then they will not be able to open the document again. It also allows you to state which documents an app can open, thus preventing users from opening their own documents in a managed app.
Per app VPN
With WiFi just about everywhere and 4G slowly taking hold in the UK, there is a need to control where and how data is sent. With Per App VPN, IT departments can now configure iOS 7 to establish a VPN connection based on the app rather than having the user connect directly to the VPN. So users can still use their iOS device for their personal web surfing, email, FaceTime chats etc. but that confidential document can still be worked on an all the data sent over a secure VPN.
This is a fantastic new feature that has really been kept quite quiet. Using Bluetooth and a small inexpensive base station, iOS 7 users can be sent information based on their distance from the iBeacons base station. Imagine going to a football match and having directions sent to your iPhone telling you where your seat is, where the nearest toilet is or even where the Bovril and pie vendor is. That's what iBeacons is designed to do. But forget the big scale for a moment and think about just about any office building. You can now send fire escape routes to a visitor that not only tells them the fire evacuation procedure, but shows them where there nearest fire exit is. If you offer free WiFi you can send the access details, including a WPA key to people who are in your office area. The possibilities the sort of feature offers to a shopping centre can make your head spin - send vouchers to shoppers as they are looking in the window, let people know the daily specials as they look at the menu in a restaurant, and of course as soon as they enter, send them all the safety information on first aid stations, information desks and fire exits.
These are just some of the features that will make iOS an even better fit for business, and QA will be enhancing our iOS courses to take advantage of all these and the many more of the new features in iOS.