Apple offered a sneak peek at the upcoming iOS 11 operating system at its recent annual developer conference. Apple has exciting things in store with the new system, which will be available publicly in September. For business users, iOS 11 comes with a slew of iPad and iPhone upgrades that can help boost productivity and efficiency. Some of the most notable features for enterprises include:
- Driving notifications. Among other improvements, users will have the ability to block incoming messages automatically while driving. Instead of looking at third-party solutions, businesses with fleets of drivers or field services can use the new operating system to prevent work-and-drive scenarios much more easily and substantially lower their risks. Start to consider mobile device management services now to support these capabilities, if you haven’t already.
- New augmented reality tools. Users will have access to visual cues, such as exactly where a box should be placed on a shelf, streamlining picking and other business operations. Some retailers, such as Ikea, have already announced support for this for their consumer applications.
- Completely refreshed control center. The update includes a more flexible control center and drag-and-drop capabilities for more efficient multitasking. In addition, the Dock from Mac is now available on phones and tablets, putting your most-used apps at your fingertips through machine learning.
- iCloud conversation syncing. Messages deleted on one device will be deleted across all devices as conversations will automatically be synchronized with iCloud.
- Personal assistant improvements. Systems integration makes personal assistant Siri more intelligent and capable. For example, Siri can access the user’s calendar and provide suggested responses to questions. The update also offers translations in Chinese, French, German, Italian and English.
- Introduction of Business Chat. Companies can communicate directly with their customers through this new capability in Messages.
- DEP for everyone. Businesses can now add any device manually to the Device Enrollment Program.
Get ready to go to 11
If your business devices run on iOS, upgrading to iOS 11 comes with a number of considerations. Older devices may not be eligible to upgrade, and users may also need to update business applications or mobile device management solutions to be compatible with the new operating system.
The iOS 11 beta is already available for developers, so businesses can download it onto non-production devices now to start testing. It’s especially important to test business-critical applications from third-party vendors before the release goes live. Beta access is available through the Apple Developer Program or the enterprise version, which enables you to distribute proprietary iOS apps to your employees. To provide feedback directly to Apple on the upcoming release, enterprises can also apply to the invite-only AppleSeed for IT program.
For personal testing, the general public has access to the public beta release cycle through https://beta.apple.com, which provides a very simple step-by-step process to install the beta on any Apple device.
Your rollout checklist
To ensure a smooth rollout as you migrate to iOS 11:
- Prioritize your apps. Determine which ones to test first and coordinate with third-party developers to identify bugs sooner rather than later. iOS 11 will also be the first iOS operating system to only support 64-bit applications.
- Test your IT systems. Make sure everything is compatible with the new operating system before you go live.
- Plan ahead for new features. Will your business take advantage of driving notifications? Augmented reality? Start thinking now about how to incorporate them into your workflow.
- Prepare your employees. Let workers know what prompts they can expect on their devices, new features they’ll be using and other need-to-know information. If you have a help desk, ensure that workers have been part of the testing and know what to do.
- Think about upcoming initiatives. If you’re planning to invest in new devices this fall, remember that some distributors may still offer iPhones and iPads with older operating systems. Apple will most likely again prohibit users from reverting to older operating systems after the September release, so there is no way back if an employee upgrades accidentally. Likewise, any new devices you purchase (such as the rumored iPhone 8) will probably come with the latest iOS 11.
A unified approach
Thoughtful planning and testing before iOS 11 goes live is essential to a seamless transition. A managed mobility services provider can help you ensure your devices, operating systems and applications work together seamlessly, and provide ongoing support to overcome any difficulties with availability of iOS 11. By taking the right steps now, you can take advantage of new operating system features to improve business productivity and customer satisfaction.
By Marco Nielsen
Vice President, Managed Mobility Services