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10 iOS 7 features that could make enterprises smile

Matt Hamblen | June 14, 2013
Apple downplays enterprise capabilities early on, though expert finds several promising enterprise tools in updated iPhone OS

7. Control Center.
Schwan said that Android has offered this capability for a while, but it will be welcome in iOS to get almost instant access to frequently-used controls, such as airplane mode.

8. I-Beacons.
Apple's iOS 7 supports low-cost transmitters that can work with an iPhone or iPad to collect location data, even if there's no location system installed in a workplace or other environment. The system works over Bluetooth 4.0 and can be used to open doors and turn on lights just by passing through an area.

"This would allow your phone to automate processes and to communicate with other devices in proximity without your telling it to look for a device," Schwan said. Bluetooth typically works to a distance of about 25 feet.

Gold said that iBeacons offer potential uses to enterprises, though "not revolutionary" ones. Other approaches for proximity transmissions have used Bluetooth and Wi-Fi triangulation, but such approaches haven't been used very often to date, Gold said.

9. Extended MDM.
Gold and Phillip Redman, an analyst at Gartner, noticed a quick mention in the WWDC keynote about iOS 7 allowing enterprises to easily provide Mobile Device Management software to iOS 7-based devices. MDM software is now available from dozens of providers. It isn't clear whether Apple is providing part or all of the MDM capability, will support third party MDM connections, or do both.

Apple hasn't given many details, but Gold said such a capability "could have a major impact on what enterprises do with the iOS device. [It could] potentially eliminate or limit the need for third party MDM solutions."

10. Audio-only FaceTime calls.
Federighi briefly mentioned that iOS 7 offers the ability to voice-chat over Wi-Fi through FaceTime.

Gerry Purdy, an analyst at MobileTrax, said the feature could one day compete with Skype and other Voice over Internet Protocol providers, which offer services that allow free calls over Wi-Fi.

"This is the first time that voice calls on Apple mobile devices will be easy to make to another iOS user outside of the voice minute plan," Purdy said. "Many Apple users will be able to greatly reduce their consumption of voice call minutes and migrate them over to their data plan in which voice calls will be incurred at a lower cost [or] marginally zero cost."

While audio-only FaceTime calls are going to be an advantage for consumers, their impact on workers could be equally as important, analysts said.


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