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23rd of October 2018

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What the Fall 2018 Apple Announcements means for the enterprise

Once again, the annual Apple calendar gave the world an exciting event with some surprises up their sleeve.  The new A12 Bionic chip can give Qualcomm a run for its money. The death of the home button on new devices, spells the modern design of edge-to-edge full screen devices. Here are a few other highlights that will be important for enterprise companies. 

eSIM and Dual SIM Support

The global eSIM specification removes the need for physical SIM cards and slots. Apple was already using this technology on the iPad and Watch Series 3 devices.  Apple went further on the new devices by opening it up to utilize Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS), a feature that uses up to two SIMs at the same time, one physical and one eSIM. Another variant to this is Dual SIM Dual Active (DSDA), which is not common, more expensive and requires phones to have multiple radios working together.

For corporate users, dual SIM brings a number of great advantages:

The ability to use one number for business and another number for personal calls. Corporate users will be able to receive calls and texts on both numbers with the option to choose a “default” line.Have a data roaming SIM for use in another country and save on international roaming.Utilize two carriers for roaming in poor connectivity areas – phone will switch automatically.Have totally separate voice and data plans – possible corporate subsidy plans.

For corporate users, eSIM feature could open up these advantages:

You can store more than one eSIM in your iPhone, but you can use only one at a time.You can switch eSIMs by tapping Settings > Cellular > Cellular Plans and tapping the plan you want to use.

eSIM will make it very easy to move from carrier to carrier. Previously, eSIM was only supported by a few phone manufacturers that is currently still prohibited for use in China. Due to this, Apple is making a model specialized for the market in China. 

To use dual SIM, your supported iPhone must be of the unlocked variety and not locked into a carrier. Please see this very detailed article from Apple for more information on how to use two cellular plans with the iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max. Also, see this article which outlines which carriers today support eSIM in-country or worldwide. Please note that there is a physical SIM slot in the XS and XS Max - the eSIM chip inside these devices is used to support the second SIM. An future update of iOS 12, coming this fall, is also required to utilize the dual SIM functionality. 

I believe the eSIM technology will quickly gain traction with Apple’s lead; this is something enterprises should keep a close eye on for their business requirements and solutions.

Gigabit LTE

iPhone Xs, Xs Max and XR now support Gigabit LTE. Gigabit LTE is an advanced form of LTE, the 4G wireless technology that the cellular carriers use to connect mobile devices.  Gigabit LTE is named such because the connection speed peaks at 1 gigabit per second, and is not 5G, which will be even faster. 

This will bring quicker cloud access to corporate files, videos and material. All of the major US telecom carriers launched Gigabit LTE last year.

Face ID

The new lower cost model iPhone XR could bring the technologies launched last year with the original iPhone X to even more people -- especially the 3D face authentication system, which is still unique in the marketplace compared to other manufactures whose models can be fooled by pictures.

Apple Watch Series 4

Since the first Apple watch was released 3 years ago, it has become a run-away hit in the wearables category. Now on its fourth generation, the device has evolved from a fitness and notification tracker to a potential lifesaving health device. 

Some of the new features, such as faster and easier access to information, could make it possible to create updated enterprise applications that can be useful for those “micro moments” of tasks where a wearable device can assist.

Apple Watch Series 4 could be very interesting for specific markets and use cases,  with the several updated sensors it now has.

For instance, there’s now additional support for at work safety situations - think of construction or utilities where worker safety teams or public emergency services could be alerted immediately if an individual falls or slips on the job.  Critical seconds could mean saving a life. 

Also, the new electrocardiogram feature, with FDA clearance, allows wearers to have a heart-rate monitor on their wrists. An electrode on the back of the device and the re-engineered digital crown takes the EKG reading. It can be used to detect a serious heart condition called atrial fibrillation (AFib), a fast heart beat that can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Like with fitness trackers, I’m wondering if heart monitoring will now also be part of the corporate insurance and HR benefits.

iOS 12 Features

The new Screen Time feature could be important for companies (and individuals) that want to create a better work/life balance for themselves. 

Please see the iOS 12 blog posting for more information on the updated Operating System and highlights it has for corporate IT staff and end-users, and how to best prepare for new Apple Operating System updates every year. 

Marco Nielsen, VP Managed Mobility Services at Stratix

Image Credit: Adrianna Calvo / Pexels

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