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.
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 with CampusWorks, Inc. Scott is available for consulting, writing, and speaking engagements and can be reached at email@example.com.