Apple's on a roll. Its stock valuation is at an all time high. The company just won a record-setting patent infringement lawsuit against competitor Samsung, complete with a $1 billion judgment. And a new iPhone is reportedly waiting in the wings.
But therein lies one potential weakness. The company's earnings may be slowing while legions await the new iPhone and new iOS, version 6.
What should business users do?
Many business and enterprise users are delaying smartphone purchases until the new iPhone 5 releases next week on the 12th (at least that's what the invitations to a Big Announcement indicate). That's understandable. Smartphones are critical devices used daily for everything from email to web browsing to social media to, even, making phone calls. No one wants to be the sucker who bought a crappy also-ran a few weeks before the release of the world's next best-selling handset; you might end up feeling like so many poor Blackberry Storm users when the iPhone 4 released.
I recommend business users wait. Even though lines are sure to be long and supply could prove scarce compared to demand, Apple is riding a prolonged wave of success with almost every new hardware device it releases. There is no reason for the next iPhone, which is way overdue, to be any different.
Regardless of whether the new Apple smartphone has a larger screen, possesses a near-field communication (NFC) chip, boasts a thinner profile requires a different connector, or benefits from longer battery life, it's a safe bet the device will work well, introduce new features, and boast several refinements. And, it's a safe bet it'll run iOS 6. And, quite a bit is certain about iOS 6.
What will be in iOS 6?
A new Passbook feature will make it easier for mobile staff to manage boarding passes, movie tickets, and loyalty cards.
- FaceTime will work over cellular networks, meaning business users will no longer be dependent upon Wi-Fi networks for FaceTime conversations.
- Siri will possess improvements, including support for more languages, which will help the interactive feature increase already significant adoption rates among users.
- Improved Mail will simplify the email interface, likely the second most important smartphone component after voice-calling (or texting).
- New Phone features, including the ability to send calls straight to voicemail or instant message callers with preset messages — one of the most common requests Apple engineers must certainly have been receiving and which will make it easier to manage calls and communications while in meetings or otherwise occupied.
- Guided Access features will make it easier for users battling attention, vision and other challenges to make the most of their smartphone's capabilities.
- Maps will be improved, boasting sharp graphics and text and easier-to-understand and read turn-by-turn driving directions, which all traveling employees and road warriors will appreciate.
Once again, the old adage proves true: good things come to those who wait. Here's hoping you don't have to wait too long on September 21st, when supposedly, the next great Apple device hits the streets.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.