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New iPhone 11 features focus on consumers, not enterprises

Apple's new line of iPhones made headlines for better battery life and cameras, but it's the improved security features that will matter most to the enterprise.

The new fleet of iPhones includes improvements to battery life and camera functionality, but lacks noteworthy enterprise improvements beyond better security, according to analysts.

During its Sept. 10 event, Apple unveiled three new iPhones: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research in Cupertino, Calif., said IT admins should focus their attention on enhancements to application security, which he said could benefit enterprise workers.  

"The security features are key," Wang said.

iPhone 11 features

Wang pointed to applications that will notify users when their location is being shared as one security feature, as it can help enterprises with privacy concerns.

He also pointed to the encrypted Apple ID-based single sign-on, which enables Apple users to use their Apple ID to log onto third-party sites, similar to functionality from Gmail and Facebook.

But security features like these played second fiddle to consumer-facing features. Each of the new iPhones received a new camera lens, with the entry-level iPhone 11 now sporting two lenses: one to shoot with an ultra-wide lens for landscapes or group photos; a second that focuses on portrait mode, which puts the subject in focus while slightly blurring the background.

The camera on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max features a third lens that enables users to zoom in closer on subjects, while also adding night mode to make shooting at night or in low light more feasible.

While unlikely to find significant use cases across an enterprise, Wang said that the improved cameras could benefit field service workers when using augmented or virtual reality applications.

iPhone 11 features like better cameras or improved battery life are not the enterprise-grade features IT admins are looking for. Instead, they want software-based improvements around operating systems as well as security and compatibility with other Apple devices, which Apple has announced throughout this year, according to Annette Zimmermann, an analyst at Gartner.

Enterprise buyers care most about security and manageability and not about if the phone battery lasts a few hours longer.
Annette ZimmermanAnalyst, Gartner

In June, Apple announced the upcoming release of macOS Catalina and iOS 13, two updated operating systems. MacOS Catalina will enable developers to port and support iPad apps to a Mac computer, while iOS 13 includes iPadOS, a tablet-specific OS that provides better multi-window capabilities, which the iPad previously lacked. The iOS 13 update will be available Sept. 19.

"Enterprise buyers care most about security and manageability and not about if the phone battery lasts a few hours longer," Zimmermann said. "Apple has made a number of announcements about new enterprise-relevant features and functionality in its macOS Catalina and iOS 13 releases that will further improve the balance between personal privacy and protecting corporate intellectual property."

The importance of iOS 13

Apple's seventh generation entry-level iPad was also unveiled at the Apple event, but included little in the way of aesthetic changes. Wang believes enterprises will benefit from the upcoming iOS 13 release if they use iPads for business.

"The iPad will be easier to use within the enterprise with iOS 13," he said. "It brings out the multi-tasking features that have been missing. Better integration with the Apple Pen is also a boon for folks who prefer to draw or write instead of type."

The iPhone 11s will be released on Sept. 20, starting at $699. The seventh generation iPad will be released on Sept. 30. Starting price for the iPad will be $329.

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