What Apple can do next?

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If you don’t know, my job is to integrate Apple devices into Enterprise environments.  More specifically, I work with Fortune 1000 companies on roadmaps, knowledge transfer, and best practices.  This gives me a great deal of info as to where companies are headed and what technology they intend to purchase.  So when I think about what Apple can do that is going to make a great deal of noise from an enterprise perspective I tend to think software first rather than hardware.

We all know Apple builds some of the best hardware around but often overlooked is their ecosystem, OS, and other ancillary bits.  It is within those spheres I see the greatest potential to really solidify their place within the consumer and enterprise space.

As a consultant, each time I visit a new client I get to see what it is they are purchasing or allowing on their network (BYOD).  Apple is big in the enterprise right now from an iOS perspective and OS X is making in-roads where before it could not.  This brings me to my first thought on what Apple can do that would make Corporations ecstatic from a security/BYOD perspective.

Multi-User Support in iOS

This may not sound like a big deal for corporations at first but bear with me for a minute.  If done properly, and with security in mind, you could position multi-user support as multi-identity.  So if you are a big corporation or the government where normal device management isn’t going to cut it you could have these multi-user devices have another “corporate” user or environment.  Given that iOS has a great deal of ties to OS X this shouldn’t be much of a stretch.  I imagine Apple hasn’t done this yet because performance/battery/etc isn’t too their standards.  So the nice part about having another user/persona/identity just for work is that in theory you could really lock everything down to that environment while allowing the end user all the freedoms they need in their home environment.  Of course there will be some downsides to this but if your security requirements demand something this strong then most people would be willing to deal with these quirks as long as they still could use their iPhone.

Another added benefit would be that iPad’s and other more communal devices could have multiple users.  I think this needs to happen for those devices as most people aren’t going to have enough coin to buy 5 ipads for their family of 5 or a future where iPad’s replace PC’s does indeed occur.

DRM – I think Apple needs to change how it handles DRM’ed content or purchases so that the end user has the ability to transfer to another account or sell the purchase.  I understand that a lot of apps and music only cost a dollar but when you now have thousands of dollars worth of content and you need to sell it or transfer it (divorce, death, etc) this becomes a big issue that isn’t easily addressed.

Adding a loan capability for corporations that purchase app’s for their employees would be huge as well.  Then I don’t need to have the discussion about how they should buy $150 worth of apps for every user and not be able to get that back when they quit.

App-Store for Apple TV – Any time now —- ’nuff said.  I see this as transformational especially if you can use iPod’s, iPhones, and iPads as controllers of some sort.

At any rate, I really think the multi-user thing is the next big show stopper.  It really could change the landscape of MDM and it would really help me keep my Gamecenter scores mine instead of my kids 😉

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