Three ways your iPhone has changed your working life

Scott Lowe pays tribute to Steve Jobs by highlighting three ways the iPhone has change the life of so many of the world's workers.

By the time you read this, thousands upon thousands of articles will have been written about the death of Steve Jobs, and these articles will describe how one man's vision has transformed the way that millions of people work and play. Here's one more.

Apple has sold a lot of iPhones since the product's original launch in 2007.  Other companies have risen to meet the iPhone challenge, including Google (Android) and Microsoft (Windows Phone 7). However, Apple is far from becoming a has-been in the space and continues to deploy new devices with new features on an ongoing basis. It's up to the reader to decide if the new features are compelling, but if sales are any indication, millions of people seem to think they are.

So, exactly how has the iPhone change the life of so many of the world's workers?

IT departments are supporting more devices than ever

And that's a good thing. Before the iPhone, you found a few different devices supported by IT departments, but the "officially" supported devices were generally BlackBerry and some Windows Mobile devices.

Today, due partly to Apple introducing the world to an incredibly compelling device with an even more compelling ecosystem behind it, employees are demanding that these now ubiquitous devices be supported at work. After all, who really wants to carry two devices?

There have been plenty of similar devices introduced, but the iPhone, in my opinion, has truly led the way with regard to the consumerization of the enterprise smartphone space.

This change has forced many IT departments to rethink how they provide and secure those services. Now, services can't target just one platform (i.e. BlackBerry) -- they need to be as broadly delivered as reasonably possible. For example, at Westminster College, we support any mobile device that supports ActiveSync. In the old days, we might have limited the choice to just BlackBerry or some other "corporate" device.

App fever!

The phrase "There's an app for that" has never been truer. In perusing the Apple App Store, you can find an app for just about anything you want -- and you can even get rid of other devices at the same time. I've ditched my Garmin GPS and now use the NAVIGON MobileNavigator app ($59.99 USD) on my iPhone to achieve the same goal, and it goes everywhere I go!

Months after the original iPhone was released, Apple made available what has now become one of the most popular application repositories on the planet and created a whole new market in the process. Today, many companies have jumped on the app bandwagon as a new outlet to support their customers.

Related to this, marketing departments everywhere have been hard at work enabling their organization's web sites for mobility. With so much traffic coming from mobile devices, this step is crucial for many.

Social is mobile

Social media has also taken the world by storm, led by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and FourSquare. With more people than ever before carrying mobile devices with apps for each of the listed services, updates happen anytime, anywhere, and are pretty constant. Whenever something of note happens, people whip out their iPhone or other mobile device and do whatever they feel is appropriate -- sending a Tweet, taking a photo, or updating their Facebook status.

Between social media use and mobile device availability, entire revolutions have taken place. While Facebook is credited for helping fuel the Egyptian riots, those Facebook posts had to be coming from somewhere in the thick of the crowd.


With the news about the passing of Steve Jobs, it's hard not to reflect on the outcomes that we've seen -- to a large degree, anyway -- as a result of the introduction of the iPhone. Jobs was a true visionary, able to see beyond what us mere mortals could conceive. He created both products and an environment that propelled Apple to the top of the tech heap, while enabling normal people to do great things with new and "magical" devices. Indeed, he will be missed.


Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...


My response: 1. There's a difference between letting employees know the server names to use to access their corporate email from their personal iPhones, and officially "supporting" personal iPhones. A lot of that also depends on how high up the employee is: CEOs & upper-level management are more likely to have the IT department provide tech support when their smartphone goes down, rather than the rank-and-file employees. Corporate IT departments have budget constraints, remember, & they have neither the time nor the money to provide support for devices *that employees paid for with their own cash*...especially when the manufacturer & software vendors should already be providing support. It's like calling your ISP for tech support when the website is down, or your PC won't boot up: your ISP provides the Internet connection, not the physical hardware or the destination you're trying to reach. 2. I highly doubt most, if any, corporations are currently working on developing in-house smartphone apps for exclusive use by their employees, for the simple fact that the majority of companies & agencies don't provide their rank-and-file employees with a company cellphone, let alone a company smartphone. No company smartphone = no need for company-provided apps & lower demand for apps specific to the organization's internal needs. 3. Most employers don't even want you logging into social media websites, & tend to configure network access to block it. And about the only true effect we've seen on employment, at least based on recent news articles, has been when employees were fired for their social network postings. Not exactly a positive result there.


Not to mention that portable social media access isn't limited to iPhones, and started on laptops.

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