September 18, 2012, 9:45 AM — Now that Apple has officially unveiled the iPhone 5, the big question for business users and IT professionals is how it -- and to a broader degree, iOS 6 -- will affect them and their companies.
Most of the details about the new iPhone were pretty much known long before Apple CEO Tim Cook and oher execs took the stage at the Yerba Buena Center on Wednesday. Some of the features have a direct bearing on the iPhone as a business tool: LTE capabilities with support for countries beyond North America; a larger (or more accurately, longer) screen and form factor; a new Apple-dubbed 'Lightning' port that replaces the traditional iPod dock connector; a faster A6 processor; and improved battery life.
The arrival of LTE wireless capabilities is a big plus for business users. In most areas where LTE is available, that means they won't need to worry about finding public Wi-Fi hotspots when outside the office. It's a big advantage, but something of a double-edged sword: The faster speeds may make users less inclined to use public Wi-Fi and could lead them to use more data simply because they can access more information and resources faster than before. Both can translate to larger mobile costs.
To handle these mobile data challenges, there are a range of telecom expense management options available for business. They provide real-time analysis of mobile use and expenses, and help companies revise mobile plans and contracts to be more cost effective. Some companies, like Tangoe, can even help companies negotiate better deals with their carrier(s).
It's worth noting that while LTE and its potential expense may be new to the iPhone, they're not really new in enterprise mobility. But given the iPhone's continued popularity, businesses with a lot of iPhone-equipped workers should prepare for the iPhone 5's LTE support.
Among other possibilities, businesses should:
-- Revise policies related to mobile data use on company-owned smartphones to encourage users to rely on Wi-Fi, potentially with some penalties or incentives to ensure users don't go beyond data limits.