iPhone

iPhone 5: What it means for business professionals

For those who use the iPhone for business, here are the eight most important things you need to know about the redesigned iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 is taller and thinner than previous models. Photo credit: Apple

On Wednesday, Apple unveiled its next generation smartphone--the iPhone 5--with a new design and a set of improved features that IT and business professionals will care about. Overall, the design itself and the feature list are mostly incremental improvements, but there are some things worth noting if you're considering an upgrade or looking at moving to the iPhone from another platform.

Here's my list of the most important new stuff in the iPhone 5 for those of you who use the iPhone for business tasks or carry an iPhone as your company phone.

1. Larger screen - The most significant change from the iPhone 4S (and all previous iPhones) is that the new iPhone screen has stretched from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. The aspect ratio has also changed from 4x3 to 16x9. That gives you more real estate for reading and viewing things on screen, but it also means developers are going to have to change their apps (existing apps will auto-fill the space with black bars). Apple's Jony Ive explained the change when he said, "By making the screen taller but not wider, you can see more of your content but still comfortably use it with one hand." 2. 4G LTE capability - Apple has finally added 4G LTE capability to the iPhone. This is a feature that many Android devices have had for 18 months. Nevertheless, its inclusion is a welcome addition for business professionals who are heavy data users and want to be able to quickly download documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images, etc. The bad news is that 4G LTE runs on different wireless frequencies in different countries and the iPhone does not contain a universal LTE chip, so LTE roaming is going to be inconsistent depending on which LTE-enabled version of the iPhone 5 you get in your home country. 3. Faster A6 processor - With the iPhone 5, Apple is introducing the new A6 processor, which the company says is "up to twice as fast compared with the A5 chip" and "also offers graphics performance that’s up to twice as fast as the A5." In general, the new chip should enable apps to launch faster, web pages to load sooner, and photos and graphics to show up and refresh more quickly. 4. Improved battery life (claimed) - Apple says that the iPhone 5 offers battery life improvements over the iPhone 4S, but didn't get into the details. Interestingly enough, back when Apple unveiled the 4S and claimed that it offered battery improvements over the iPhone 4, the company said that the iPhone 4S would get 8 hours of talk time, 10 hours of video playback time, and 6 hours of web browsing time. On Wednesday, Apple claimed that the new iPhone 5 will get 8 hours of talk time, 10 hours of video playback time, and 8 hours of web browsing time over LTE. So, the only battery life improvement is in web browsing. 5. Metal backplate - The iPhone 5 switches from the glass backplate on the iPhone 4/iPhone 4S to a metal backplate. This is the first metal backplate since the original iPhone in 2007 (the iPhone 3G/iPhone 3GS both had plastic backplates). The most significant thing about that from an IT and business standpoint is that it is likely going to be a lot more sturdy and result in fewer replacements when the phone gets dropped. 6. Updated camera - The camera specs in the iPhone 5 are virtually identical to the iPhone 4S--which already had an excellent camera--but Apple had to fit it into a thinner package. There are also a few key feature improvements. The software now includes a new panorama mode. Apple says that the iPhone 5 takes photos 40%  faster and takes better low-light shots. CNET's Josh Lowensohn reported that the new camera "combines pixels in the dark, which gives you up to two f-stops better performance in low light. That's an impressive claim." Since lots of different types of professionals--from real estate agents to health care workers to construction contractors--use the iPhone camera as their primary business camera, any improvements can have a positive impact. Apple also upgraded the front-facing camera on the iPhone 5 to 720p, which should bring notable improvements in video calling. 7. Audio improvements - Apple introduced several features to improve the audio quality of the iPhone 5. It increased the number of microphones from two to three. There are now microphones on the bottom, front, and back of the device and the front and back mics work together as an array to do beamforming. The iPhone 5 now features wideband audio (also sometimes called HD Voice), which Apple said will be supported by over 20 cellular carriers at launch. All of this is aimed at improving call quality so that you can make calls when you're in noisy rooms and have a better experience when you're doing things like dialing into conference calls from your iPhone. 8. New connector - In order to make the device thinner and potentially do faster data transfers, Apple replaced the old 30-pin connector that has been on its devices since 2003. The iPhone 5 features the new "Lightning" connector, which is all-digital and is 80% smaller. This will be a major pain for people who already have extra cables and dock connectors for their iPhone. There is an adapter, but Apple is charging an unconscionable $30 for it. The best thing you can say about this new connector is that it is reversible, so there's no way to plug it in upside down. But, if you're an existing iPhone user who will be upgrading to the iPhone 5 then you're going to need to be prepared to buy adapters for your docks and/or buy some extras cables for your laptop bag, your night stand, etc.

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

48 comments
Viktor_f
Viktor_f

I definitely agree with the Kevjones. It gives nothing except pf the non-working apps. So what does it give? And for whom? IMHO - troubles. 1) for developers: how to adopt fast the apps to the new screen. 2) for firms - where to request the apps adaptation and how much to pay Apple made the visual product update + bigger screen - nothing more. No FIPS-140-2, no LTE, a lot of restrictions (e.g. iOS 5-6 do not support the Zebra printers http://www.zebra.com/gb/en.html and hundreds of other hardware). This list can be quite long....

Animal13
Animal13

Why are they worrying about making it thinner? Why not make it 3/8" thick with a crazy large battery that can really last all day from 7am to 11pm with all the calling, web surfing etc. you can do in a day? And those numbers are for ideal conditions. What about those times you are in a metal box (Elevator, Warehouse, train, etc.) where you get no signal and the phone is just chewing up battery life? And driving in the country with no bars? (Yes there are lots of places with no towers) And factoring in battery degredation so that after a year when the battery only gets 75% battery life. Or using GPS, bluetooth, gaming, etc. where you can just watch the battery meter fall. Yes, a phone with a better battery is way more usefull than a slimmer, sexier device. Now that would be a revolutionary feature!

JohnVoda
JohnVoda

I agree that the iPhone 5 is an evolutionary vs revolutionary advance, and that any number of smartphones offer comparable features (though I admit I ordered my 5 at 5:30 this morning), but to say iPhones (and other smartphones) offer NOTHING to business professionals (other than "dialing") is incorrect. Employee productivity is greatly enhanced by 24x7 availability to access customer/business files remotely; take pics, incorporate them into reports (such as damage documentation) and submit them instantly/remotely; GPS/route mapping, etc., etc., etc. You may not be taking advantage of these features, but many business professionals ARE.

blackers
blackers

That's the real question in my opinion. Kevjones and Eman08 are right on the button. I think Business users who had 4/S may upgrade for the glitzy heck of it otherwise same ol' same ol'. There really is no red herring for those who did not have iPhone before (I don't and won't). What really struck me is that there were at least 4 "iPhone launch" articles (including this one) by different authors on the same day on Tech Republic: iPhone 5's thin, ultrafast, and comes with 4G LTE: Will you buy one? Apple announces the iPhone 5 iPhone 5 lacks killer feature, still impresses Am I missing something about the iPhone like maybe its coffee making ability?

Gisabun
Gisabun

Apple claims lightning will improve speed. Meanwhile shell out $30+ for any adapter(s) that you'll need. Another proprietary item from Apple. Of course a whole new stack of accessories will still be needed if you had an older iPhone. Everyone claims higher battery life but good luck in getting even close. 4 LTE... Aside from Samsung taking them to court already, Apple could go all the way with LTE? Or maybe didn't want to jack up the cost because of licensing.

rotvic
rotvic

Just like iPhone's baseless claims, this article also comes short by presenting 8 items instead of the 9 promissed!

Non-techie Talk
Non-techie Talk

I think I recall a quote that Steve Jobs wasn't interested in the corporate space because a) business decisions are devoid of the emotions that Apple products seek to tap into; b) the business purchaser is looking for volume and discounts which spoil the high margin fun Apple enjoys from individuals and c) an individual can unilaterally decide "today" that they want an Apple product and go buy it today, while the corporate purchaser must go through red tape and bureaucracy that extends and delays the purchase transaction. Is this new corporate concern a good thing?

emile319
emile319

it's a copy of the RAZR needs to be a lawsuit

matt
matt

Where is the ninth most important thing?

Quigster1
Quigster1

Changing the connector and then charging $30 for the adapter? It should be included for free. Also, I am sure Samsung will be filing a lawsuit soon as they said they would if the iPhone 5 included LTE support. It still has a smaller screen than my Galaxy S II so I am not impressed.

brett
brett

As a business professional i do want to see more area when I log in using something like remote desktop. I need a phone that can log on to a server or my own computer system at my home office and do a few basic functions. I do want to see my customers websites without the left and right scrolling if possible. I want t make sure that flash works on it. I am also hard of hearing, and so I am looking forward to hearing how the new microphone configuration works. I owned one of the first I Phones and enjoyed it. Never a pocket call. I now have an HTC. It's a good phone but for me the volume is still to low. It does the functions that I need. I'm also interested in the "face time" function. I'm a PC user and have just got a Ipad for my wife. We are able to have much better quality viewing and talking to our grandchildren than skype ever gave us...

tbostwick
tbostwick

Most items were a given on the 5, except the absence of NFC - passbook however is interesting, coming from used Square a number of times it will be a nice add. Maps - many other options in regards to GPS, most coming from apps like GPS Drive, Waze and such... don't agree with it being a ripoff of Google maps (since the data and layout comes from TomTom). Keep in mind that GPS devices will disappear shortly, so Garmin, TomTom, Magellan and others are going to have to partner their map data with "somebody", otherwise they'll have nowhere to ply their wares. Connector complaints - I'd rather pay $30 for the new (which I hate the old) one, then have to deal with a dead "wireless dock" in the Nokia; now that's a gadget that's bound and determined to break and cost $$$ to replace/get fixed. My guess is that we'll some uses for the new connector, as it's an "all digital". Siri is the best for what it does and VoiceActions can't even come close on a good day on even with a shiny new Galaxy S III r2 As far as what's "new" I see plenty under and on top of the hood that move the best smartphone even further ahead of everyone else, and no one comes close to Apple in terms of overall quality and engineering put into a single product. Reminds me of the old KitchenAid mixers that your grandma used for practically every item she cooked in the kitchen, and they lasted, worked, and outlived anything else for decades.

hometoy
hometoy

But hardware wise there isn't that much one can do. Improvements need to be on the software side.

thorntech1
thorntech1

Am I missing something, or did you list 8 items instead of 9?

sasha38
sasha38

No hardware encryption no push email no ... ,where is something real fro business.

skuli434
skuli434

If Apple postponed their lunch date it would be better for them to do so, in stead of doing no major upgrade like they did in previous " fashion iphones ". 1. Larger screen 2. 4G LTE capability 3. Faster A6 processor 4. Improved battery life (claimed) 5. Metal backplate 6. Updated camera 7. Audio improvements 8. New connector All of them are not the upgrades they are updates

junkmail
junkmail

All previous iPhones had a 3:2 ratio screen (480x320 / 960x640), not "4:3" like old CRT TV screens. And "an unconscionable $30 for it" [Dock connector adapters]? Have you seen what's in the Thunderbolt-to- Gigabit Ethernet & Firewire converters, or the Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable? They're *riddled* with chips, they're not just 'dumb' pin-out conversion cables. It will be the same situation for this new "all digital" dock connector. We don't yet know what it's based on (USB2? USB3? Thunderbolt? something else?), but to get *anything* analogue (as exists on the 9 YEAR OLD 30-pin dock connector) into or out of it will need yet more chips in this $30 converter. Chill dude, and get some perspective on what's really going on underneath these "unconscionable prices".

laman
laman

I means nothing to me. None of them are a breakthrough for business users.

kevjones
kevjones

Firstly define "business professionals" . the Iphone 5 means nothing to "business professionals". The single most important feature of the Iphone and for that matter any phone is that you can dial a number and talk to someone. Probably the next important aspect is that you can compose, read and reply to some emails. And the last is probably that you can keep up to date with facebook's falling share price. The rest of every thing else is/are toys in a "business professional" context. For goodness sake this is just a telephone no business is going down the tubes without it. It has no "business strategic advantage" it makes phone calls thats all.

neil.postlethwaite
neil.postlethwaite

Unfortunately with IOS6, the issue of IOS device Remote Support/Remote Control has still fundamentally not been resolved. From your CEO who is too dumb to work his phone, to your granny who can't get iPlayer to work on her iPad......................... Apple need to address this issue

eman08
eman08

Still no FIPS-140-2? And only 50 IT policies compared to RIM over 550 IT polices with Government security clearance FIPS-140-2 and much more.

BigWoodchuck
BigWoodchuck

Glad to see that I am not the only one. I mean, what if they got "CRAZY!" and made it 1/2", no... 3/4"!*#? OMG, it might weigh 7 or even 9 ozs!!! I might need a pallet jack -- a hand truck at the very least! Unfortunately, my friend, we seem to be in the extreme minority. These things, especially iPhones, are also meant to be status symbols. Look at all the effort the put into having that pretty machined edge on the iPhone 5. They market the things like they are jewelry. I guess I will just have to keep waiting for my communicator / tricorder combo...

BigWoodchuck
BigWoodchuck

If true, then for once Steve underestimated the human desire for new shiny objects. After all, what self-respecting CEO would dare to pull out a bargain bin android or *gasp* pre-smart phone (or even the last-gen iPhone, to be honest) while on the 9th hole with his buddies? Seriously, though, I understand what you are saying. I just wish it were the case. But it looks like companies are just going to (unfortunately) continue to embrace more and more BYOD. Also, a surprising number of companies actually buy full price iPhones (there are a couple of folks here in the comments, in fact).

BigWoodchuck
BigWoodchuck

You need a phone "that can log on to a server or my own computer system at my home office..." AND you want to make sure that "flash works on it"? You might want to think about that. What you are carrying is a portable, wireless, and easily hackable entry point to your entire system (if it was set up to do what you are asking for, that is). Seriously, this is the worst case security scenario for you and the business you work for (or own). Think about it this way: --First, you want flash, which obviously means that you want to be able to use the phone to view flash content -- a very common attack vector (just google "flash vulnerabilities" and stand back) --You want to use the phone both on your home network and the network at work. This is already a common IT headache. Your home network is probably less secure than the one at work. This provides for another avenue of attack for a number of reasons: you can more easily be infected by non-targeted mal-ware on your home network (typically); it is usually easier for someone to obtain say, your e-mail password on the home network; I dare say that there will be other non-technical users on your home network... the list goes on. This would normally be just a minor concern for the IT department except... --YOU WANT ACCESS TO THE SERVER(S) from your phone! The first question is... why? Judging from your comment, I will assume that you are not a sysadmin, so you likely do not want to have remote administrative access from your phone (which, even if it were feasible, would be insane). So what then? Access to a data server? Although it is not always the case (unfortunately), best practices demand as much separation as possible between the data servers and the other servers. It would be bad enough if you had direct access to all of the company data from your desktop at work and then access from your phone via the desktop. But remote access directly from your phone?? Why not just e-mail the data to your competitors to spare them the trouble of taking it off paste-bin. Look, these are worst case scenarios. But if you are a grandfather, there is a decent chance that you are in some sort of senior position. The more senior the position and the more valuable the data -- the more likely you are to be the victim of a TARGETED attack, which is a huge achilles heel for mobile devices. Don't take my word for it, just check out the results of the 2012 pwn2own mobile contest. Here is a quote from a ZDNET article where Ryan Naraine interviewed the hackers involved: "the big message from these hackers was simple: Do not use your mobile device for *anything* of value, especially for work e-mail or the transfer of sensitive business documents." Not an idle warning, considering that they had just successfully hacked the phones using zero-day exploits. Finally, as that article and others will reveal, it doesn't make any difference which platform you choose. You will see all sorts of comments in the threads about how much more secure Blackberrys are. People will point out that Obama and government officials use them. But you can bet the farm that there is no sensitive information on them, any more than there would be on their much more secure (relatively) laptops. The only difference is that once it has been exploited, it will take a little more time (the first time around) to get the data from the BB. So, enjoy your phone but realize what it is really for. We are a long way from the Star Trek future where every device can safely access all the data in the universe without worry (and, ummm, Star Trek is fiction, after all). By the way, I am not trying to single you out, you just happened to be the first comment I noticed that listed the typical features that folks want and expect from their mobile devices.

neil.postlethwaite
neil.postlethwaite

Gonna be great with your iPhone 5/iPodG5 wobbling around 2-3cm up in the air, on a silly little connector adapter on your speaker dock - esp. a posh one like a B & W or Bose you have shelled out tons for.

Trentski
Trentski

Apple trying to be different and not putting a usb on there phones is more of a reason not to buy one. I agree its pretty outrageous how you have to pay for 30 dollars to make it backwards compatible, imagine if we had to do that to play our xbox games on our xbox 360's, damn

devand
devand

It's certainly not a breakthrough phone for the average consumer, either. I understand Apple's "dumb-it-down-as-much-as-possible" approach to their phones resulting in far less features and capabilities than a typical Android smartphone, however I think the majority of tech-minded folks prefer Android.

eman08
eman08

Did you mean mobile phone. By the way mobile phone solely belongs to Motorola as they invented the cell phone. You can't say the invention of the cellphone is not innovative from Motorola - Martin Cooper. No iphone nor any cell phone on this planet wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Motorola. Who do you have more respect now Apple or Motorola?

Gisabun
Gisabun

"Iphone 5 means nothing to business professionals". I doubt that. Evrery big shot in a large company will want one and then everyone else. But IT will have to support the damn thing. And why include FB? Nothing to do with a new phone - or are you a fanboi and anti-FB, anti-MS, anti-Samsung and anti-Google?

jamonholmgren
jamonholmgren

This is the type of thinking that holds businesses back. There are a myriad of business uses for a smart phone beyond calling and answering emails. Custom apps are being used to great effect (on all platforms) in forward-thinking businesses all over the world.

Dev$Null
Dev$Null

They make great toys... Now let's all stop playing with the toys and get back to work... There is no study that show that Iphone users respond to calls 1.2 seconds faster then the average user, thereby saving the company money. There is no study that shows that Iphone users respond with better responses to questions when answering calls. It's just a phone...keep moving nothing to see here.

T3CHN0M4NC3R
T3CHN0M4NC3R

You fully utilize all 550 IT policies? And RIM is dying for a reason right?

dogknees
dogknees

So, if Motorola hadn't invented it no one else would have thought of it in the intervening 25 years? Seriously?

eman08
eman08

The iphone is not even secured enough for IT management. No email encryption, no hardware encryption, no secured kernel, no push email, no security wipe, iOS only 50 IT policies compared to RIM/BlackBerry over 550 IT policies, and NO FIPS-140-2.

Dev$Null
Dev$Null

I'll bet the productivity loss and cost from too many bells and whistles is just about inversely proportional to the gain. Remember Pagers? Once had to explain why a automated call response system that dialed pagers (no matter the cost or intelligence) could still not always give a constant sub-30min response to tech service calls. The system was to escalated each call to the next person if they did not respond within 10 minutes(their call not mine). Assuming 5 to 8 people in the calling tree no amount of math can fix that logic flaw. We even wrote the system with the smarts to avoid calling people on vacation or out sick (providing their manager updated the information). The time it took to get to a phone and dial the system back or the time to pull up your pants and wash your hands before dialing the system back. Equated to 3 to 4 people breaking there necks to try and respond to the same problem or all ignoring it, thinking someone else would get it. Don't forget the supervisor that keeps forgetting to flag the person unavailable that day. There is not always an APP for that.....

buddyfarr
buddyfarr

we have about 25 or more persons using smartphones in my company. most were on windows phones and some on android. non-stop issues every week with problems from either phone. once we started switching persons to the iPhone there have been literally 2 calls in the past few months about problems. our users want phones that just work. and the iPhone does exactly that. easy for the user to learn, easy for the user to use. More time for them to get other things done and less work for the IT department. More than worth the money spent.

Dark_Knight
Dark_Knight

Anyway, the point about the policies and security is a valid one. Working within financial sector requires special settings that the general public will not need, and that is where these devices are targeted to. Our organization must employee a third party solution for the iPhone and Android devices to be compliant with all the legalities that come with allowing our employees to use a smartphone for corporate mail. I know the Blackberry systems very well and what it has to offer, and it is light-years ahead of the iphone when it comes to security and the ability to manage and maintain the devices. The usability and functionality of the Blackberry devices compared to the rest of the industry, well that is a different story and that is why they have fallen to where they are today. However if you require a secure device, that makes phone calls, can read and send email and manage your calendar, there is nothing wrong with a Blackberry device. On the other hand if you want a device that can play games, has the latest apps, iphone or a droid is what you seek.

buddyfarr
buddyfarr

RIM is dead tech from a dying company. They could have 1,000 security policies and I would still be a fool to buy from them.

BigWoodchuck
BigWoodchuck

That's silly. Besides, Martin Cooper assigned Rudy Krolopp to be the lead designer on the DynaTAC 8000X. If I recall, John Mitchell was involved as well. So I guess it's a good thing that all two (or three) were born, otherwise we would have no cell phones! And without Newton... no calculus!! And without Euclid... no geometry!!! And without Aristotle...no propositional logic!!!! Getting the point? And besides, these were all much more fundamental contributions than the implementation of technology to create a new device -- and in each case they were independently developed elsewhere ( in the case of calculus, within the same year or so).

eman08
eman08

There is only ONE Dr. Martin Cooper. Without his idea No cell phone would have been thought of or exist. Martin Cooper is a well known Electrical Engineer/Inventor of Motorola. Respect this man!!

dogknees
dogknees

If people are unable to deal with complex devices, they are the problem and certainly shouldn't be in positions of power.

mtibbs
mtibbs

As buddyfarr's boss, I can validate his comment regarding the reliability and ease of use of the iphone. My only gripe is need to use iTunes software and lack of remote control/support.

shivaraj3027
shivaraj3027

Dont claim to know much about tech stuff and hence your comment seems to be quite reassuring that i hadn't made a stupid decision to buy the playbook. Although i do feel that the BB playbook has lot of catching up to do on the app front. There are barely any useful apps, and most of them aren't user friendly, atleast in Aus. I suppose BB Playbook is only useful for people in the US. But like you have mentioned i shall wait to see the day when the playbook ramps up on the apps. Ta.

securityonmymind2000
securityonmymind2000

those people they do not know how secure BB is simply they never used them seriously before. Only BB is so outstanding in terms of security and messaging. Professionals and governments can only rely on it. I personaly only complained one thing in BB, the browsing ability is too week. But I heard the new versions are much better. I have many friends using iphones, yes, iphones are good. However, for serious business professionals, once some weak features are overcome, BB is really superior. RIM would survive and prosper again.

eman08
eman08

You clearly know nothing about RIM and its products as i can tell people like you never used a BlackBerry phone or tablet before. It's a reason why Barack Obama still uses a BlackBerry phone and that the government still buys RIM's products and relies and only trust RIM because of mandatory FIPS-140, I think i made my point very clear. RIM is NOT dying so get that through your head. There is a big difference from going through a transition than dying. RIM is in far better shape than PALM. RIM has NO debt and has billions of dollars to spend. People need to STOP saying RIM is like PALM. FYI RIM right now hascurrently has over 90,000 apps in the BlackBerry Appworld. The PlayBook tablet is improving every day and runs Android apps and is the only tablet on the market to get FIPS-140-2. BB10 is around and anxious to see what they can offer. RIM is trying every thing they can do from their transition to a new platform. So did you complain when Apple first released their very first iphone in 2007 with hardly any apps in the appstore or Android with barely any apps in the Android Marketplace in 2007? This is the same for BlackBerry's PlayBook tablet. So for christ sakes this is RIM's very first tablet! It's only the first generation and is a brand new platform. So of course there may not be many apps when its the very first generation. Apps will continue to grow when RIM makes more generations of the PlayBook as you see now apps are up to 90,000.