Thank you, WordPress, for a well designed iOS app

While typing my latest post in the WordPress app, the app crashed when I tried to go back to the list of posts.

That’s always a nerve-wracking experience, but especially after finishing up a long blog post.

Much to my surprise and delight, every last character was saved when I reopened the app! Thank you, WordPress, for a well designed iOS app.

I don’t begrudge a crash here and there, just don’t lose a user’s data when it does happen.


Apple’s A7 64-bit chip could mean universal, desktop-class apps on the iPad and iPhone

There is lots of analysis out on the web now about how important the 64-bit-ness of Apple’s new A7 chip (in the iPhone 5S). They all seem to be missing a big point: the A7’s power means all sorts of desktop application power can be used on iOS devices like the iPhone 5S, and the soon-to-be-announced iPad 5 (I imagine the iPad mini 2 will use a last-generation processor, such as the iPad 4’s A6X, to keep its price down).

Let’s take a look at Apple’s iWork suite (now free for new iOS device purchasers, by the way) for an example of what the future might look like for OS X and iOS apps.

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Is Apple adding a database to its iWork suite of office tools?

Curious timing here. Apple already announced the iPhone 5S and 5C, and rumors are they will announce a new iPad and iPad mini next month. Apple also announced the iWork (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) suite of apps will be free for every iOS device sold.

Also coming soon is Mac OS X Mavericks and new Macs. Will iWork be free for them, also?

If so, does iWork need a database? Apple subsidiary FileMaker already made a very nice and consumer-friendly database for iOS and OS X called Bento. (Note: it was not in any way enterprise-worthy, and could not hold a candle to Microsoft Access, even.)

Curiously, Bento is being discontinued at the end of September, right before Apple’s next major iPad and Mac announcements. Are these events linked? Or is it just coincidence?


Apple has thrown down the gauntlet: 64-bit Desktop Class A7 Chip and Free iWork Office Suite

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet.

The iPhone 5S has a 64-bit, desktop class, A7 ARM chip in it. This presages the introduction (next year?) of ARM-based laptops.

All new iOS devices will now come with iWork (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) and iPhoto and iMovie for free. (My guess is when OS X Mavericks is announced next month, iWork will be free for new Macs, too).

What does this mean for the enterprise?
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iPhone 5C: A Margin Play

Now that the 5C is out, and it’s only $100 cheaper than the 5S, it’s clear that it’s a margin play by Apple.

Normally, Apple sells the previous year’s model at a $100 discount, so the 5 would be $100 less. But Apple isn’t selling the 5, anymore.

By making the 5C plastic (but otherwise identical to the iPhone 5), Apple lowers its cost by not having to make all those aluminum shells. This increases margins, and allows volumes to grow even more without needing as many aluminum milling machines.

An interesting way to increase margins and allow the expensive equipment to be used exclusively for the high end iPhone.


Fingerprint recognition may make the iPhone 5S the go-to smartphone for the enterprise

Fingerprint recognition may make the iPhone 5S, expected to be announced later today, the go-to smartphone for the enterprise.

Earlier this year, at a multibillion-dollar enterprise customer of Magenic’s, I saw the pain of using iOS 6—without Kerberos single sign-on—when users had to continually enter usernames and passwords as they traversed through SharePoint server after SharePoint server. This made their system non-viable from a usability perspective. Nobody used it, and IT really couldn’t blame the user.

If Apple combines the rumored fingerprint recognition with the already-announced enterprise features of iOS 7, including per-app VPN, Kerberos SSO, “Open in…” management, enterprise ownership (and possible reassignment) of App Store purchases, AirDrop, iCloud Keychain, and Password Generator, then the iPhone 5S* may very well become the phone to beat for the enterprise.

These features combine high security with ease of use in a heretofore unseen manner. IT is satisfied, and users are thrilled. A win-win combo if ever there was one.

Will BYOD become BYOiD? Bring your own iOS device.

*–Note than a less expensive iPhone 5C is also rumored to be announced today, but it will likely not have the fingerprint recognition on the Home button the way the 5S will.


Enterprise Apps, Platforms, and Total Cost of Ownership

Whether you’re a CMO with business-focused teams reporting to you, or a technical manager or CIO with technical teams reporting to you—and you’re deciding which platforms to support for your internally-facing enterprise apps or externally-facing consumer apps—ask your teams this:

Why does Apple’s simulator only give you 5 device options (really just 3 distinct form factors), while Android’s emulator gives you over 20—and that’s just the popular ones?

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Microsoft buys Nokia’s Devices Division, including Manufacturing

So the big mobile enterprise news today, seen in this article from The Verge, is that Microsoft is buying Nokia’s devices division.

There are three interesting points to this purchase.

They’re not buying Nokia outright—Nokia is keeping its HERE mapping division, among others—but they are buying the device division, including manufacturing. This is similar to how Blackberry worked, but is in stark contrast to Apple, which has essentially no manufacturing component. Even with the stated move of manufacturing of Apple’s pro desktops to the United States, that manufacturing will be outsourced to Taiwanese or Chinese companies.

So apparently Microsoft thinks a manufacturing arm will bolster its chances of success. Perhaps Microsoft is trying to emulate Samsung and Google, rather than Apple. Microsoft has manufacturing and licensed patents, much like Google acquired with its purchase of Motorola.

Another interesting point is the timing of the purchase. Anyone could have guessed that putting Stephen Elop in charge of Nokia several years ago was prepping him to rework Nokia as a leaner company and bring it into the Microsoft fold. We kept expecting it to happen, but it never did.

So now it happens—right after Steve Ballmer’s retirement from Microsoft is announced. One can only imagine that previous negotiations broke off when Stephen Elop wanted a bigger role and perhaps a clear line of succession to the top, and Ballmer balked at such a thing, since he wasn’t going to retire for another decade. Maybe Ballmer’s enforced retirement changed negotiations materially.

The third interesting point is the purchase of the low-end Asha line, but not the high-end Lumia line. According to The Verge’s article, Nokia has had profitability problems trying to win in the high-end market. So perhaps Microsoft is going downmarket with the Asha line. But Apple has already started its inevitable downmarket trend by coming out later this month with the rumored-and-all-but-inevitable iPhone 5C.

Apple took this same tack with their iPod line (Classic, touch, mini, nano, shuffle) and their iPad line (Retina and mini models)—it was inevitable with their iPhone line. Chances are, Apple will continue to go downmarket with future models, as long as they can figure out how to keep their margins high. And Samsung has dozens of models in every niche imaginable, so it’s hard to imagine how Microsoft can differentiate itself in the lower-priced market. Maybe Elop figured it out, and that’s the driving force of the acquisition.

These are exciting times in the enterprise mobile world. It’s good to see Microsoft making bolder moves than they have in the past.