Apple Inc. made its big unveil of iOS 8 on Monday during its Worldwide Developers Conference, showing off a slew of new features with its newest iteration of its mobile operating system.
While Apple has long been a powerhouse in consumer tech, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company definitely seems to have its eye on another market – the enterprise. Craig Federighi, senior vice-president of software engineering at Apple, took to the stage to run through some of the things Apple is doing to bolster its success with enterprise customers.
For one thing, Apple has already found favour with the enterprise, with Federighi saying about 98 per cent of the enterprise is already using iOS for its apps. But he added hitting the 98 per cent mark wasn’t enough – Apple is interested in going after the other, elusive two per cent, and to do that, it’s released a slate of new features to attract them.
While Federighi didn’t go into great detail about how all of the features work, here’s a list of them:
- Expanded data protection
Beyond their mail apps, for users looking to protect the data housed in their Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, and Messages apps in iOS 8, Apple has added passcode protection. This also applies to third-party apps, after a device is rebooted and unlocked.
- S/MIME controls per message
For messages containing sensitive data, Apple has added a feature allowing S/MIME users to sign and encrypt individual messages.
- Data management in the hands of IT administrators
To help the IT department tackle the problem of BYOD, they can control which apps are able to open documents coming from enterprise domains using the Safari browser. They’re also able to decide which apps can open documents in iCloud Drive.
Plus, IT administrators are able to manage mobile devices by preventing users from setting their own restrictions, or erasing their devices. They’re also able to see when a mobile device’s data was backed up to iCloud, so they can figure out when it’s safe to do any tasks that might affect that data.
- Access to Touch ID for developers
There’s also the news of Touch ID now being opened up to third-party developers. While that’s not an enterprise feature per se, it may interest developers to know they can now add integration with the biometric fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S to unlock apps.
For example, during WWDC, Apple showed how a user could unlock Mint, the personal finance app, using the Touch ID feature. Up until this point, users could only use Touch ID to unlock their devices, or make purchases from the App Store or iTunes.
- An updated Mail app to help users save time
For users who get a ton of mail everyday, one handy enhancement is the ability to mark messages as read or unread, or remind themselves to follow-up by swiping left or right. They can also track updates for particular conversations and mail threads, and set up a customized mailbox that groups important threads in one place. And for extra security, users can mark external email addresses in red.
There’s also an option for Microsoft Exchange users to set automatic reply messages through their iOS devices, if they’re out of the office.
- A more collaborative Calendar app
One of the hardest parts of scheduling a meeting is finding a time that works for everyone. Apple’s update to Calendar for the enterprise allows a user to check colleagues’ availability inside the app. Users can also mark certain events as private, or email their colleagues from inside Calendar to let them know if someone’s running behind.
- Access to corporate documents
It’s a hassle for users to have to retrieve documents and then copy them to their mobile devices, taking up valuable space. With this new feature, if they’ve installed an app that accesses their corporate file servers, they can reach that document from the app that will be editing it.
Apple has also added AirDrop support between iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite to allow users to transfer files between a Mac and Apple mobile device, without needing to be connected to the Internet.