Does using Apple iPhone make sense for your business?
In a recent post, we ventured that buying Android devices was one way to save your company money. You can read that article here. Now, who wouldn’t want to save money during these times? A former job I undertook was replacing the corporate Blackberrys for another option, and, although showing early promise, Windows Phone was eliminated so it came down to Android vs iOS. Ultimately, iOS was also eliminated due to cost but we were left juggling various Android phones.
The problem we had was that each Android device had slightly different options available when using MDM (Mobile Device Management) – no one device satisfied all of the requirements of the brief we had been given. iOS did, and more besides, but in the end, we were able to get an Android solution working but only with a high-end phone, that cost slightly less than what the equivalent iPhone would, and that model was due to be discontinued.
We saved the business some money, but how much time had it consumed and was it a good trade-off with one eye on the future?
If you are spending a significant amount of money on new devices, then what are the advantages of using an Apple iPhone?
iOS has arguably the best curated, and largest number of apps, and most secure App Store available. Every app has to undergo and comply with a rigorous set of standards. The downside is that only apps from the App Store can be installed, you can’t sideload or use alternative app stores which means Apple is the only game in town.
One reason why I’m not a fan of Android in the Enterprise is the difficulty in obtaining security updates for the Operating System – these tend to be controlled and released by the carrier where Apple release them directly, one reason why the uptake for updates and new versions is so high (as often touted by Apple at their town hall events). New major versions of iOS are usually released in the Autumn of each year and available shortly after being announced. The general rule of thumb is that devices tend to be supported for around 5 years from the date of release.
iPhones have an onboard feature called “secure enclave”; the simplest way to describe it would be like TPM (Trusted Platform Module). It’s a way of encrypting the contents of the phone, so if the phone was copied then the data couldn’t be read without the TPM. It’s also what makes the phone so hard to break into as you may have heard about in the news.
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
MDM is a key component of managing a large number of devices outside of the office environment (even more this year). As previously mentioned, whatever your chosen solution (Cisco Meraki, AirWatch, etc.) then iOS (and by inference iPadOS) devices fully support all remote options offered. A potential downside is that depending on your MDM solution, you may need a macOS computer to prepare the phones for remote management.
This is a trickier one as Android can be re-skinned and come pre-loaded with vendor-related apps which can impede normal workflow. With an iPhone, each one will work the same as the next.
The few times we’ve had to engage with Apple for a defective device, it’s often been a very positive experience and we tend to recommend that AppleCare (Apple’s Warranty and Insurance product) is added.
There is a saying about “buy cheap, buy twice” which can certainly apply in IT – iPhones are not cheap, but remember, you don’t have to buy the latest model when a new version comes out – there are often good deals to be had on the previous iteration. You also don’t need to buy the maximum storage available – look at how they are used within your company and come up with something usable. People often decry the lack of expandable storage but its never been an issue in my experience.
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