Apple has always captured the imagination and attention of both geeks and non-tech people, but never more so than during the past month. In a short time, the iPhone 4S and iOS5 were released, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away, and the new and only authorized biography of Jobs was released. The wake of Jobs’ death is a very busy time if you’re an Apple fanatic, and probably still a meaningful footnote if you’re not.
Regardless, iOS5 drastically improves Apple’s mobile operating system in an age where mobile Internet computing is as critical as desktop computing was fifteen years earlier. Many of iOS5′s improvements improve the iPhone and iPad as business productivity devices. Let’s take a look at how some of those changes benefit the business user.
Designed to helpyou manage email on the go, iPhone users have long had the Messages app, but it was purely for sending and receiving text messages as part of your cell plan. With iOS5, Apple introduced iMessage, their answer to the Blackberry Messenger service. Now any iOS user, regardless of what device they use, can communicate with other iOS users.
The service is free and only requires an Apple ID, something which every iOS user already has in order to install apps on their device. This will come in very handy for traveling consultants and sales people who find themselves needing to contact a fellow employee fast but are without a cell signal or using a device which is wi-fi only. Even better, iMessages don’t count as text messages on the phone bill.
iOS5 makes it much easier for users to manipulate their calendar and keep track of where they need to be with who at what time. On the iPhone and iPod Touch, rotating into landscape view will now bring up the ability to see multiple days on the screen. The view is basically a week view which the user can scroll through from left to right and back. The big change for all iOS users, however, is the ability to drag and drop appointments both within and between days. Just tap and hold an event on the calendar and it will appear to lift up off the calendar “page”. The user can then move the event to a different time or, if in landscape view, across to a different day.
This is a new app in iOS5, but it may be the biggest and best addition to the operating system since the App Store. Reminders is Apple’s task management app. The app, along with mail, calendar, and contacts, syncs over the air with an Exchange account, now giving users access to their Outlook tasks. Adding and editing tasks are simple processes and the tasks appear as if they were written on notebook paper with a check box by each task for when they are completed. The reminder part comes from the ability to have the device remind the user when a task needs to be completed, but reminders also have the ability to send an alert based on location. For example, a user can enter a reminder to write a client visit report when they return to their office. When the device detects it is in proximity of the office based on GPS, the alert goes off. This is very handy for traveling users, including the aforementioned consultants and sales people.
Apple is making the biggest deal regarding this feature but, as it is only available for iPhone 4S users, not all users have access to it. Those that have shelled out the cash for a new iPhone, however, are in for a treat when they use Siri. Siri brings voice commands on the iPhone to a whole new level. Previously, users could tell the iOS device to call certain contacts or play certain music with varying levels of success. Siri, which was a 3rd party app before Apple bought, turns the iPhone into a personal assistant. Users can now create calendar items, reminders, and messages by just telling their phone to do so. Users can also ask Siri questions, which the service will answer using information sources such as Wolfram Alpha and Yelp to find the answer. The most obvious use for Siri is in the car as it grants hands free operation of the device to the driver, but, for those who are not fans of the iPhone on screen keyboard, this is a whole new way of interacting with the phone. Once Siri is available to all iOS users (Siri, according to Apple, is currently in beta), this service can truly redefine how users interact with technology.
These are just a few of the ways which iOS devices can benefit business users. There are many more functions, both in iOS5 and in previous versions, which make the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch excellent tools for improving productivity in the business world. The Business Technology Consultants at Best Technology are experts in iOS and Apple products and are standing by for your call to help you get the most out of your Apple technology. Give them a call today at 440-365-0344.