What the iPhone 5s and 5c and iOS7 offer the enterprise

Checkbox for IT: iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor, low-cost iPhone 5c and iOS 7 add-ons

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Milanesi had expected the iPhone 5c to cost less than what Apple announced. She expected the 5c to cost $300 to $400 without a wireless contract, instead of the $549 that Apple is charging for the 16GB version without a service plan.

Even so, $99 for an iPhone 5c with a service plan would be $100 less than the iPhone 5s with a contract, so if a workplace wanted to offer an employee an iPhone 5c under the company's ownership and management, there is greater potential for providing more workers with iPhones, Milanesi said.

Price alone, however, is a relatively minor issue for enterprise users. "Most business users buy based on productivity and convenience and not generally on the lowest price," Gold noted.

Since smartphone productivity is most important to employees, the new iOS 7 could factor heavily into how workers and IT shops judge Apple and its newest smartphones.

iOS 7's impact on enterprises

Apple said that iOS 7 offers around 200 new features. Those features include more enterprise enhancements than any release since iOS 4.0, which was the first time Apple introduced MDM APIs (application programming interfaces), Gartner's Dulaney noted in an Aug. 12 report. "IOS 7 will have a high impact for enterprise IT leaders in terms of security and management," he wrote, and urged enterprises to test iOS 7 for use with MDM software consoles and users.

The new version will meet baseline security needs for more than 80% of enterprise-owned and fully managed iPhones and iPads, he said.

Dulaney compared iOS 7 to BlackBerry Balance software, which partitions personal and work applications on a single smartphone like the BlackBerry Q10.

However, Apple doesn't support a network operations center as BlackBerry does, meaning the implementation of a management console for iOS 7 must come from a third-party MDM provider, Dulaney said. The list of MDM vendors is a long one and includes old-line companies such as IBM and Microsoft, but also Good Technology, AirWatch, Mobile Iron, Citrix and Symantec.

MDM vendors are moving quickly to support iOS 7 when it launches on Sept. 18. However, Gold said it is unclear how many of the new iOS features will make it into MDM suites. More importantly, it's still unknown how iOS 7 will affect overall device manageability in a corporate setting.

Based on Gartner's analysis, enterprises "will most certainly deepen the relationship and commitment to Apple," Dulaney said in his report.

In iOS 7, Apple upgraded its software to do several tasks. The new features include the ability to provide single sign-on (SSO) functionality to permit multiple applications to work across a single smartphone. The new operating system also supports multitasking and offers a standard method for embedding management features in enterprise applications.

Here's a look at some of the new functionality in iOS 7.

Single sign-on: The SSO feature of iOS 7 will allow a user to access multiple business applications in a smartphone, but only as governed by the IT shop via its MDM system, Dulaney said. The fingerprint sensor, for instance, might quicken the process for a worker to move back and forth between applications. Those and other iOS 7 features would have the biggest impact on enterprises, and have provoked a range of recommendations from Dulaney and other analysts.

Multitasking: Apple's multitasking is not true multitasking, Dulaney said, but is actually a better scheduling algorithm that allows an application to request more processing time in the background.

App Store access: Dulaney noted that worker access to Apple's App Store might still be needed, although some enterprises are concerned about users unintentionally downloading malware in untested apps. Companies can set up an enterprise application store by using the Apple Volume Purchase Program, but access is still needed to the App Store, a process that Apple needs to change, he said.

Per-app VPN: The iOS 7 functionality that Apple characterizes as per-app VPN support is poorly named, Dulaney said. Instead of embedding VPN technology in each business app, iOS 7 allows an MDM suite to designate a set of applications for use of the VPN. Each business application will then declare itself as requiring the VPN and will then be routed through it. Meanwhile, a user's nonbusiness traffic will be routed over the wireless carrier's public Internet portal.

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