Apple released iOS 8 and the new iPhone 6 last week. Inside IBM, the upgrade is already underway. IBM has over 125,000 mobile devices in use with iPhones and iPads being the most popular smartphones and tablets. IBM began testing iOS 8 when the first beta was released in June to ensure that applications that IBM sells to customers as well as the applications that IBM has developed internally work with iOS 8.
Key applications including Fiberlink MaaS360, IBM Traveler, IBM Connections and others had support for Apple iOS 8 the day it was released. Other applications like Sametime chat, Meetings and Worklight had updates available shortly after the release to support iOS 8.
Employees began upgrading to iOS 8 on Wednesday, September 17 as soon as Apple released the over the air update. IBM employees in Australia were the first to purchase the new iPhone 6 on Friday, September 19 and enroll their devices in Fiberlink MaaS360 to connect to IBM’s corporate infrastructure. To date, there are over 100,000 Apple iOS, Google Android smartphones and tablets enrolled in Fiberlink MaaS360 – the same cloud-based mobile enterprise management solution in use by thousands of clients around the globe.
On a personal note, I’ve upgraded a total of twelve Apple devices – work, personal and family devices, to iOS 8 without a hitch. My wife upgraded from an iPhone 5 to the new iPhone 6 (AT&T) and I’ll be upgrading my corporate owned device in the coming weeks. The changes in the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 are evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. My thoughts of the key new features:
- Multitasking e-mail allows multiple mail windows to be open simultenously. Just swipe down while creating a new email or reading an email and you can flip between browser windows.
- Autocomplete and the availability of third party keyboards make it easier and faster to type
- Handoff allows you start a task on one device and pick up on another device, For example, you can start to compose an email on an iPhone and pickup where you left off on the iPad or vice-versa. The upcoming Mac Yosemite Yosemite also support this feature with interoperability between iPhone and iPad. Important note: Your Mac must be a recent model with support for low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 support to use this feature. List of supported devices.
- HealthKit: lots of promise but unfortunately, Apple has temporarily disabled integration with apps as it works through bugs. Update 26 Sept – Apple has released iOS 8.02 which enables HealthKit integration. I’m looking forward to using this functionality as applications become available.
- Apple Pay: of the three announcements at Apple’s last event (iPhone, Watch, Payments), this was the one that I was most excited about. Inclusion of NFC in the iPhone 6 allows tap to pay and integration with Passbook for secure transactions. Retailers plan to start rolling this out just in time for the holiday shopping season. I can’t wait!
- Widgets, share sheets and browser extensions. Share Sheets share content from one app to another. To enable, tap the share button in any app (like Safari), then tap the “More” option on the top row to get a list of available Share Sheets. My favorites: Evernote and Pinterest. Safari extensions add different features to Safari: To enable a Safari extension, tap the share button in Safari, then scroll over to the “More” option on the bottom row. My favorite: Dashlane (Password locker). Widgets add various features to Notification Center: To install widgets, pull down Notification Center, scroll to the bottom, then tap the “Edit” button. My favorite: Wdgts
- Battery usage of specific apps is now available via Settings – General – Usage so you can tell which apps are using the most battery power
- “Hey Siri” hands free. A welcome feature to activate Siri via voice without having to touch the phone. Required that the Phone/iPad be plugged in and charging
- Family Sharing. As a parent of three kids with iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices, I was looking forward to this feature so myself and my wife could be notified of app purchase requests from the kids and approve or reject them right from our device. However, I was disappointed to learn that Family Share doesn’t support iTunes Match. For my family, iTunes Match is MUST have it allows us to access all of our music and playlists in the cloud from ANY iPhone or iPad (up to 10). We currently have over 9,000 songs and over two dozen playlists. Unfortunately, the iTunes Match subscription is associated with a single Apple ID and there is no way to share. Apple also requires the creation of new “kids” Apple ID – there was no way to covert an existing Apple ID. Hopefully, both of these limitations will be addressed in a future release. In the meantime, I’ll continue to leverage a single iTunes ID on all the family’s devices to share purchased apps and iTunes Match. I’d also like to see Apple either expand the number of devices that can use iTune Match beyond 10 or provide a better way to authorize specific devices. Today, it’s first come, first served and if another device joins, other devices are locked out and I need a PC and iTunes to remove devices from the list temporarily until they try to use iTunes Match again and the process repeats. We need a better way Apple, are you listening?
- Touch ID API. Previously, the fingerprint reader was limited to device passwords and iTunes purchases. Now, you can authenticate with any app using the fingerprint reader that leverages the new API. I use Dashlane password locker and have enabled the Safari extension to automatically enter usernames and passwords.
- Peer-to-Peer Airplay for AppleTV. iOS 8 also includes an upgrade for AppleTV which includes a new “flat” user interface, some new apps and peer-to-peer support. Previously, AppleTV and iPhone/iPad needed to be on the same wi-fi network to work. Now, all you need is wifi and BlueTooth enabled on your iPhone/iPad and you can see the AppleTV via Airplay. This is great for conference rooms or when guests come over since they don’t need to be on your wi-fi networ. Note that AppleTV Gen 3, Rev A model 1469 is required – earlier devices won’t work, The model number is on the bottom of the Apple TV in very small print – you may need a magnifying glass to see it!