On Monday, Apple made several major announcements in its keynote presentation at the annual WWDC conference. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the conference, Apple CEO, Tim Cook and Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi took to the stage to introduce the new features of OS X, dubbed Yosemite along with unveiling the new iOS 8. Beyond Yosemite and iOS 8, the announcement of the new programming language, Swift, got developers’ heads spinning. So how will all these announcements impact enterprise organizations?
Craig Federighi introduced Yosemite with a look at various names that didn’t make the cut and then segued into the system’s updated design and continuity features. Enterprises can benefit from features such as updates to Spotlight and the Notification Center, Mail Drop, iCloud Drive, and everything that comes with continuity.
Spotlight and Notification Center
Besides an updated, translucent look, the upgrades to OS X (Yosemite) will help increase efficiencies at work. One of the biggest changes came in Spotlight, which received robust search capabilities and is now a big search field that pops up in the center of the display. Spotlight is able to show relevant information related to search terms such as a newsfeed, wikipedia, and maps and can also show you recent documents and convert units when you search for an application such as Numbers. This feature will help people find relevant documents and information quicker, which will help the overall productivity of businesses. The upgrade also includes the ability to add and edit widgets to the notification center which helps businesspeople stay connected with a calendar, weather, stocks, etc. This makes the notification center even more helpful for those that need to juggle all their meetings.
Mail Drop and iCloud Drive
A great feature that will surely help enterprises would be Mail Drop, which allows users to send large files through iCloud that are up to 5GB in size. Also, sending images is easier now and users can even annotate them with the Markup tool. You can send important documents to your coworkers via Mail Drop and send images with notes. Need to save documents? Good news: all documents can be saved on iCloud Drive, a Dropbox-like file system to store everything in the cloud that can sync with all devices.
This is a big feature that will probably have one of the biggest impacts on the enterprise. Apple is connecting all its devices together even more by bringing in features that will allow for continuity such as using AirDrop between iOS and Mac! This is great because people will be able to send files from their iPhones to their Macs, which wasn’t possible until now. We’ve been waiting for this feature for some time. Handoff is another great feature which helps boost productivity for the enterprise as it knows what other devices are doing and allows you to continue from where you left off on another device. For example, you could start creating a Keynote presentation on your Mac and then leave and pick up from where you left off on your iPad, which increases employee mobility. Another benefit of continuity comes from the Mac’s ability to automatically configure a hotspot from a user’s iPhone when the Mac isn’t connected to wifi. This gives employees the advantage of working on a Mac online even if there is no wifi available.
A feature that businesspeople and others will enjoy is the ability to get SMS on the Mac and iPad as well as phone calls. If you leave your phone somewhere else in the office, you can still dial it from your Mac and also dial phone numbers from various websites including Yelp, which can come in handy when you need to contact other businesses or take clients out to lunch.
According to Apple, over 200 million iPads have been sold while the iPhone has passed half a billion units. In the last year alone, 130 million customers bought their first Apple device. The new iOS 8 brings new features including interactive notifications where users can reply to messages, events, etc. without having to leave the notification center. Besides features such as easier management of emails, Quicktype, and better group messaging capabilities, enterprises can benefit from the Device Enrollment Program, HealthKit, and Extensions.
Device Enrollment Program
In the keynote, Apple stated that 98% of the Fortune 500 use iOS. With so many businesses using the platform, Apple wanted to do more for the enterprise. Having previously announced the Device Enrollment Program, Apple highlighted the benefits of the program, which streamlines the onboarding of institutionally owned devices. The program allows users to set up a device automatically with apps, mail, contacts, etc. Businesses will be able to enroll devices in MDM during activation before they are even unwrapped and set up new employees quickly. The program helps ensure that each device is managed properly and locked down. In addition, enterprises can utilize features such as the per-message S/MIME encryption, VIP message threads that display on a lock screen, and increased security even in third party apps. Exchange also supports automatic reply, third-party document providers. Organizations especially schools will be able to utilize the device management system that includes eBooks and PDFs. This is all good news for enterprises as security and managing devices are important topics in today’s workplace.
Finally, we’ve come to the topic of health. Many have been speculating about what Apple would unveil that would impact healthcare. Enterprises especially major healthcare organizations will want to pay attention to HealthKit, which is an API that apps can use to send data to Health. Health is the app that will let users monitor and manage aspects of their health such as the number of calories they burn, the number of hours they sleep, and their heart rate. Since Apple is working with Epic Systems, HealthKit will be used in many hospitals. Enterprises will benefit from employees sharing more information with healthcare providers because this will boost people’s awareness of their health, more timely treatment, and hopefully healthier employees. In addition, HealthKit can be integrated with current enterprise employee wellness programs that encourage employees to be healthier with fitness classes, wellness workshops, and health assessments. This will ultimately lead to healthier people that can work harder, are happier, and are more efficient.
Apps have traditionally been isolated in sandboxes, but now Extensions will allow applications to offer services to other apps. For example, you can use Bing to translate pages in Safari and widgets to give you more information in your notification center. This will certainly be helpful for employees that are traveling to other countries and need to translate websites on their mobile devices. In addition, extensibility will help businesses with apps that need to talk to each other such as large enterprises that have a multitude of apps in an ecosystem. With extensions, enterprises will be able to better integrate their entire app ecosystem and transfer information between entities.
Those are just some of the changes that Apple announced at this year’s WWDC. The updates to OS X as well as the introduction of iOS 8 will certainly have an impact on how people and thus businesses operate.