11 Comments

Summary:

Apple seems to have a significant impact on the future of work without directly intending to. The company’s next generation mobile operating system brings big improvements for consumers, but they’ll be no less beneficial to mobile workers.

ios5-feature

Apple seems to have a significant impact on the future of work without directly intending to. The iPhone has made steady inroads into the enterprise since its introduction, and the iPad is making big waves as well. These devices are especially useful for remote workers, for whom computing tech is the very lifeblood of their daily grind. Apple’s next-generation mobile operating system brings big improvements for consumers, but they’ll be no less beneficial to mobile workers.

Notifications

It’s hard to understand just how much better it is to be able to see your work-related emails lined up at a glance on your lock screen as they come in, without having to even unlock your device, until you’ve tried it for yourself. Plus, you can jump to any email in the list automatically with one swipe, instead of having to unlock, open the mail application, scroll and find the right email, then tap on the email. The new iOS notifications can also do the same thing for text messages, voicemail or even with alerts from third-party apps. This makes everything you do on your phone or iPad much, much easier; a boon for busy remote workers who are inundated daily with demands for their attention.

iMessage

While the value of iMessage, Apple’s new text and MMS replacement, may be reduced by being limited to a single platform (iOS only), that limitation didn’t stop BlackBerry Messenger from being a huge hit with the enterprise crowd. iMessage will even work on iPads and iPod touches, devices which don’t normally support text messaging. It’s also smart enough to detect when your recipient can receive iMessages, so iOS-based web workers will be using it whether or not they realize it.

AirPlay mirroring

An iPad 2, coupled with an Apple TV, can function as a mobile workstation, and a presentation tool you can use anywhere there’s a television or video output device. AirPlay mirroring of apps makes it easier to work on presentations and longer documents, especially when you pair your iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard for easier typing. Plus, developers should be able to leverage the new feature to come up with some really innovative two-screen interfaces that could significantly change the way we use mobile devices to get work done.

Documents in the cloud

As part of iOS 5 and iCloud, developers will be able to add simple cross-device syncing of document changes. This will be an incredible boon for remote workers, and especially for distributed teams, who should be able to take advantage of this in apps that let members work collaboratively on a single document. We could see solutions that allow a distributed team to work together on projects as if they were working on a corporate server, instead, using Apple’s free iCloud product, which should be handy for small companies and freelancers.

PC-free

There are mobile workers who can do everything they need to get done on an iPad and an iPhone, especially with the right software support from an in-house IT development team. For those workers, the most important thing about iOS 5 is that it finally severs the essential connection between iOS devices and a home PC. A workstation with an all-day battery and an always-on connection is now within reach, especially for remote workers with relatively light computing demands.

Apple gave mobile workers a lot to be thankful for with OS X Lion, too, including auto save, resume and version tracking for documents built into the OS, but I think the changes made in iOS 5 will have the biggest impact for remote teams. Apple also made a couple changes directly aimed at enterprise customers, like encryption for iMessage and S/MIME support in iOS Mail. If you’ve been waiting for a good time to introduce Apple devices to your mobile workflow, there’s never been a better time than this fall, when iOS 5 is released.

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  1. alchemist007 Monday, June 13, 2011

    Is this supposed to be a joke? Lol

  2. Here’s the deal with iMessage: it’s not a separate applications. It replaces the SMS app entirely. So if you send a message to someone with an iPhone, it will route it through Apple’s system, otherwise it will fall back on SMS. It’s all automatic. So Apple is effectively carving a nice chunk of AT&T/Verizon’s SMS revenue out…which is unequivocally a good thing.

    1. I doubt it. You still will need SMS for all non-iOS/5 interactions, and, therefore, will need a SMS plan. You might be able to downgrade to a cheaper plan, but I doubt it. If anything, it means less work for the carriers to deliver and rate those messages.

      SMS and MMS is such a ripoff, and even if someone cooked up some other solution that allowed everyone to SMS/MMS each other for free and it was a good replacement for what is there now, carriers would just raise other rates in order to make up the difference in revenue.

      1. notreally you clearly lack sufficient imagination skills as to how iMessage is a clever end run around the carriers. You really think carriers can willy nilly raise data rates to compensate for possible losses in SMS revenue? Have you heard of the FCC and FTC in the U.S. (and their counterparts in Europe)? Did you miss the news in 2008 that U.S. Senatpr Herb Kohl (Chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee in the Senate Judiciary Committee) sent a letter in 2008 to AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile asking them to explain the dramatic price increases for text messaging services? Your lack of understanding gives you a knucklehead aware courtesy of Curly of the 3 Stooges! Anyway, back to the theme of this article by Darrell, he makes some good points about how the way people work will change and iOS 5 nudged that change further. Nice article Darrell!

  3. Shane Brady Monday, June 13, 2011

    Why wait until fall, deploy Android devices now and get all the same features and more.

  4. I haven’t seen the stats but I strongly suspect that most mobile workers are consumers. And most iPhone-equipped consumers do some mobile work. So much so, I doubt the distinction between the two supposed categories is all that useful.

  5. Gosh, all this things can alreaey b found in android OS. And u actually said its a new trend by apple? U joking right? This is obviously another marketing promo campaign eh?

    1. I have to ask (because I honestly don’t know the answer) – you say these features are already found in Android. Are they native apps? Because you can already get these features on an iPhone now with third-party apps, just not natively (with the exception of iOS updating ota). Does Android include these features out of the box? I’d love to know. Thanks.

      1. If your talking about the messaging app, yes google talk comes preloaded on android phones and it is available to anyone on the internet via android, iOS, Blackberry, WP7, mac, pc, linux for free. even includes video chat. same with google docs but im not sure that comes preinstalled.
        Everything in this article can be done on android today.

      2. yes notifications are very similar to what is in android, as for the messaging app, android comes with google talk, which uses data to send messages, and it is available to anyone, android, iOS, WP7, Blackberry, mac, pc, linux. i don’t think there is anything similar to airplay preinstalled, over the summer google tv is getting an update so it may be available then or through third party apps now. And for the cloud storage yes, as soon as you login to your google account your phone is synced, even if you get a new phone it will transfer your contacts, emails and apps. Google docs is a fairly new app probably will come preinstalled in later versions of android and is also accessible from any internet connection.

  6. Meaningful but non-intrusive notifications, as well as doc syncing, were available on Windows Phone 7 from the day it shipped. Just sayin’. Might want to give credit where it’s due instead of jumping on the new (old) shiny.

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