Getting off Apple and going all Google has increased my respect for both companies. I've come to realize that the very best mobile experience right now is built on a foundation of Google services on Apple hardware. I wish only that these two companies could get along better, and that Apple will allow more Google integration on the iPhone.
iPhone 5 may be an expensive proposition for the corporate world
Apple's iPhone 5 event yesterday confirmed many of the reports that have been circulating for quite a while now -- the new 4-inch screen size, the new dock connector, LTE/4G support, a new Apple-designed A6 process, and a new glass and aluminum body. The event also filled in some of the finer details about the latest iPhone like pricing, release and preorder dates, and support for LTE service in countries beyond the U.S. and Canada.
Apple also confirmed the assumption made by many technology pundits that the company would continue to sell the previous two generations of iPhone models (the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S) at lower price points. The iPhone 4 is now the entry-level model that can users can get free with a two-year contract from AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon.
There's no doubt that the iPhone 5 will be a popular device when it ships later this month. Its impact on business environments will depend largely on whether a company provides smartphones to employees or encourages them to use their personal devices at work through a bring your own device (BYOD) program.
For companies that provide phones and service to their employees, the iPhone 5 is going to be an expensive proposition for a handful of reasons.
The device itself is a top-of-the-line smartphone so the initial purchase price (starting at $199 for the 16GB version) is higher than many Android and Windows Phone devices as well as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
Any existing iOS accessories in use will need to be replaced or be connected using one of Apple's rather pricy adapter cables. For specialized equipment required in certain industries (healthcare, industrial use, agriculture, and education to name a few) that expense shouldn't be underestimated. Even for personal use, the cost of accessories can add up significantly. Mobile marketing firm Velti estimates that consumers could spend more than $400 transitioning to the new Lighting connector. Of course, since Apple will be standardizing around the new cable, this will be an eventual expense for iPads as well.
LTE service could mean more expensive mobile services. While service plans themselves may not be particularly expensive compared to 3G plans, LTE's significant performance, however, means that users are likely to blow through service tiers more quickly than with previous iPhone models. It also means that users may be less inclined to use public Wi-Fi when out of the office resulting in even more frequent use of LTE service.
Those factors combined make the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S more attractive from a cost perspective. That could mean tension between users that want the iPhone 5 if a company doesn't offer a BYOD option.
For companies that have embraced the BYOD model, the new iPhone won't have as much of a cost impact. In fact the faster processor and LTE capabilities may prove to be a useful productivity booster for mobile professionals.
One area of cost concern is recoding internal apps to take advantage of the larger screen dimensions. This isn't a requirement and it isn't going to be as big a deal as recoding iPhone apps to take advantage of the iPad's screen real estate, but it is a potential concern.
Another is providing support resources. Although the iPhone 5 shouldn't require a large amount of additional support compared to its predecessors, many users may seek advice about whether to purchase the brand new model as well as about accessory issues. It's worth noting that not all Dock connector features from previous iPods and iOS devices are supported in the new Lighting connector even with an adapter cable.
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