The new security features in iOS 7 has made the iPhone a better choice for companies than most Android smartphones. But the battle for business customers is far from over, and Android is looking better in the long term.
Apple vs. Samsung
With the release of iOS 7 today, the iPhone is on par with the three Galaxy S phones Samsung is selling with its Knox technology. Introduced in February, Knox makes it possible for companies to separate corporate and personal apps to prevent data from moving between them. While Apple's approach is different, it provides similar capabilities in iOS 7.
Unfortunately for Samsung, iOS 7 will be available in millions of iPhones quickly, as people upgrade their older phones and buy new ones. With only a trio of Knox-enabled smartphones, Samsung won't be able to compete with those numbers for awhile.
However, Apple's advantage will be short-lived.
iPhone will struggle
In the PC market, Microsoft clobbered Apple by providing developers with an "open" platform. By open, I mean developers got far more access to the innards of Windows than Apple offered with the Mac. As a result, far more innovative business software was built for Windows, which eventually made Microsoft a monopoly on the desktop.
A similar fate awaits Apple in the smartphone market. Because Google gives everyone access to Android, software vendors have built products that Apple would never allow on iOS, such as virtualized workspaces, full control of apps and credentials and specialized storage/file systems, market researcher J.Gold Associates said in a recent technology brief.
That trend will continue and the amount of innovation on the Android platform will eventually surpass that on iOS. Many more business apps will be available on Android, and device manufacturers will include enterprise-class security options to support them.
"We expect Android to surpass Apple within the next 2-3 years in its ability to be a secure and deployable enterprise-class OS due to the advancing ecosystem of vendors creating specialized solutions," J.Gold said.
iPad will also lose
Apple faces the same challenges in the tablet market. As companies increasingly buy the devices for employees, businesses will choose products from mainstream computer makers, such as Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Dell and Microsoft. In addition, businesses will lean toward operating systems they are familiar with, which puts Windows in a solid position in the future.
J.Gold predicts that within three years, the number of Android tablets in companies will surpass iPads, with Windows tablets accounting for 15% to 20% of the total.
The groundwork for J.Gold's predictions has already been laid. Android accounts for more than 75% of the smartphone market, according to IDC, and Apple has no interest in competing for volume.
Indeed, most analysts agree that the company's new 5C phones, which are suppose to be Apple's low-end iPhones, are still way too expensive for emerging markets, such as China.
Wall Street also believes Apple is unlikely to increase market share with the new phones. The company's stock has fallen 8 percent since announcing the cheaper products Sept. 10, according to Bloomberg.
Apple's iOS 7 will unlikely have any impact on the company's market share or stock price. And its enterprise-class security will soon be just the baseline for all smartphones sold to businesses.