Apple Watch and Apple Music dominated WWDC coverage this week, but the company had several announcements of interest to enterprise users, including gestures, pinned websites, and natural language search for OS X El Capitan.
Swift 2 as an open source programming language is a huge deal. Enterprise users will be able to use Swift to develop their solutions, and these will work well across Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone and Mac. And because it will become Open Source it will become better faster, some claim.
Also read: WWDC 2015: Apple’s been studying Google
Proactive contextual search for Siri is another big step. Enterprises now have a platform upon which they can develop intelligent solutions to help employees remain productive, and these solutions combine some of the best elements of machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data. You can see the road map for future development of the Siri platform in this. I imagine many enterprise already focused on iOS for their mobile strategy will climb aboard.
Apple’s focus on privacy, security and trust is of huge importance to enterprise users. Tell me one major enterprise that’s happy to have its location, email, documents or contact details analyzed and decoded by people they don’t know? Tell me one major enterprise that can exist without keeping some information in confidence, if only to stay in line with data protection law. Apple’s continued insistence on privacy and new features such as six-digit authentication will be welcome news to enterprise users. If you do develop apps you absolutely cannot miss this WWDC track.
Apple made another decision to please enterprises attempting to stretch out their purchasing budgets – backwards compatibility. Apple claims iOS 9 will work on any device running iOS 8. This means iPhones and iPads now have a useful life of 3-4 years, meanwhile features such as App Thinning mean apps should deliver better performance too.
That’s great news in terms of keeping to budget, and also means those users committed to three year iPhone contracts will be in a great position to upgrade to Apple’s next huge iPhone upgrade when it arrives in 2016. This may have the effect of freeing up a little budget to spend on Apple Watch units, so team members can access enterprise-focused Complications to help them meet targets.
App discovery is made much easier. Deep Linking technology means app developers will be able to specify Web content iOS should index using Apple Web crawlers. In use you won’t need an app to be installed in order to access some of its content, but enterprise users should be able to use this to direct employees toward those apps they need to install as and when they require them.
Split screen and Slide Over and the keyboard enhancements for the iPad make the Apple tablet an even more effective productivity tool. I am in no doubt at all that an iPad refresh is in the works and that the chimera-like phantom that is the iPad Pro may be part of this mission.
Network, VPN, MDM
Apple didn’t tell us all its enterprise at WWDC – head over to its Enterprise developer pages and you’ll find it held back information on what’s new in Network Extension, VPN and Apple device management. All three are critical to enterprise users and Apple’s decision to hold back on info about them suggests it has more to tell enterprise users. I speculate this could be new iPad models, fresh IBM apps and other announcements designed to boost Apple’s growing mobile enterprise grip. What do you expect?
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