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WWDC: IOS 12 — AN ENTERPRISE PERSPECTIVE (UPDATED)

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You could be forgiven for thinking Apple’s iOS 12 is all about fun consumer features, but when iPhones account for a healthy chunk of mobile enterprise deployments, you need to look a little deeper than that.

Intel(ligence) inside

The operating system is packed with robust feature enhancements, security improvements, and powerful machine intelligence. This is, after all, the platform that can figure out blood loss in the operating room with a single photograph while also playing virtual games with Lego. Hundreds of millions of users employ their devices in millions of unique ways. That’s what Apple’s platform supports. What follows are some of the iOS and feature enhancements likely to be of most use to enterprise.

The latest release (available now in beta and set to ship in the fall) is being developed with stability and performance in mind. This means existing devices should enjoy a nice performance boost. What makes this really good news for cash-strapped CIOs managing digital deployments is that iOS 12 will run on all the devices iOS 11 supports, all the way back to iPhone 5s and iPad Air. Such broad device support makes iOS 12 a must-have upgrade for hundreds of millions of users, and it means enterprise users can hope to maximize the usable life of the devices already in deployment.

Augmented reality (AR) for the enterprise
ARKit 2 isn’t just for playing games. Apple has expanded its AR support to introduce multi-person support and the capacity to send AR objects inside Messages and Mail. A new AR app called Measure also opens up opportunities for enterprise developers. Improved face tracking, 3D object detection, and even better rendering makes AR more compelling than before. Retailers can create shareable product sheets, and homeware sellers can think about accurate renditions of how their products will look in people’s homes.

Apple’s decision (supported by Adobe) to work with Pixar to develop a new AR format called USDZ makes it possible for enterprises to make all-new solutions with AR inside. This has relevance beyond retail: education and training guides, operational procedure testing and review, field guides, even emergency situations will benefit from these improvements.

 

Grouped notifications

A long time coming, perhaps, but grouped notifications means busy knowledge workers will be able to keep a much better track of incoming messages, tasks, and app-related reminders. This support also lets us assign levels of urgency to notifications in the form of what Apple calls “Critical Alerts.”

Another communication feature enterprises users will enjoy is called Downtime, which limits the device to only make and receive phone calls and use certain user-defined apps while enabled. You’ll switch this on when you want to get things done.

[ Take this mobile device management course from PluralSight and learn how to secure devices in your company without degrading the user experience. ]
Apple’s new digital wellness tool (Screentime) will empower all of us to identify apps that suck up our time and let us take control of that use. Apple wants its devices to be addictive in a good way. There’s a danger: Now that the tool exists, will enterprises seek to harvest such data to track employee time? And what might that do the autonomy that drives the evolution of the digital enterprise?

ios12 face time multi 06042018AppleGroup FaceTime, which supports 32 participants, will be a useful collaboration tool for Apple-using enterprise professionals.

Group FaceTime

With up to 32 active participants, Group FaceTime is a powerful illustration of just how much can be achieved on a cohesive computing platform. While it’s limited to iOS and Macs, Apple has figured out how to support 32 video streams within one app over incredibly low bandwidth. To achieve this, it does clever things at the server level, where all these chats are combined into one slim feed — the system is also smart enough to identify who is talking and bring their image to the front. The fact that FaceTime is highly secure by design means this will be a useful collaboration tool for Apple-using enterprise pros.

Siri gets much smarter

I plan to get into more depth around Siri improvements in iOS 12. Here, though, I’ll simply note that Siri Shortcuts should help enterprise users just as much as they do consumers. Siri’s new-found ability to automate your work and personal routines and useful machine intelligence that lets the assistant identify if you are running late and suggest what to do about it is also pretty helpful.

There’s more to machine intelligence than Siri, and Apple is pretty focused on making sure its systems are the best solutions to use when building new AI models. Core ML 2 and CreateML help both empower agile AI development and help foster future coding talent, another great reason for enterprises to use Swift. A very brief assessment: Siri got much, much smarter in iOS 12.

Privacy and security enhancements

Apple’s a poster child for responsible technology platform development. The company’s decision to block tracking code in comment threads or via social media “like” buttons means devious hackers won’t be able to abuse these tools to identify, monitor, or hack high-value enterprise targets. That’s a big step toward tight security in an era in which criminals will use a raft of different tools to break into enterprise systems.

Apple’s decision to make it harder to hack into devices over USB also helps protect knowledge worker secrets from prying eyes, while much improved support for third-party password managers gives mixed-platform enterprises an even break.

 

MINGIS ON TECH

Mingis on Tech: WWDC recap
Two-factor authentication
Apple has reduced the friction of copying and pasting codes required for two-factor authentication. In iOS 12, when you receive a passcode via SMS, the system will automatically submit them as an AutoFill suggestion. This basically makes your device smart enough to automate yet another task, and it will hopefully boost the use of two-factor authentication on Apple’s platforms.

 

App portability

Voice Memos, Stocks, News, and Home all made their first appearance on the Mac at WWDC. Apple was at pains to say (again) that it has no intention of combining Mac and iOS platforms, but the company did reveal its intention to make it possible for app developers to create Mac versions of iOS apps in 2019. With enterprises moving to adopt Macs once they spend time with iPhones, this has to be an opportunity for bespoke business application development on the Mac. Those internal enterprise iOS apps are prime candidates for such moves.

Health records

Apple’s decision to open its Health Records API to developers unlocks a whole new business opportunity within healthcare tech. The motivation is to help nurture an ecosystem of apps that use this data. The Health Records feature allows patients from over 500 hospitals and clinics to access medical information on their iPhone. This is really significant; not only does it enable patients to share and read their own apps, but it also unlocks new opportunities to make better use of patient data in personalised digital healthcare. This should also have implications on enterprise health insurance provision, as better care plus better health may mean lower premiums.

 

Update: Apple Business Manager

Apple at WWDC also announced Apple Business Manager. Available now in the U.S., Apple’s MDM suite will be available in 65 nations by the end of summer 18. It’s a web-based portal IT administrators can use to manage people, applications and devices and is designed to make set-up much easier.

“Apple School Manager and Apple Business Manager make it easier than ever for organizations to put Apple devices in the hands of students, teachers, employees and guests,” said Michael Devins, Product manager, Jamf. “These deployment programs are a major platform differentiator for Apple, allowing organizations to deploy Mac, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV with ease and at scale.”

 

Apple has more information on this here.

Another enhancement introduced at WWDC: Apple introduced new Quality of Service controls designed to prioritise network traffic for business-critical tasks.

There’s a great deal more enterprise benefits to be unlocked inside of iOS 12 than these, so I’m signing off for today to head to the WWDC show floor to find out more.

 

 

 

Source: Computer World

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Mobile Phones

EVERYTHING NEW IN IOS 12 BETA 2 FOR IPHONE AND IPAD

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Apple with the second beta release of iOS 12 further tuned its upcoming operating system with a number of system-wide tweaks and refinements. AppleInsider details everything new in our hands-on video.

Apple seeded beta 2 just two weeks after iOS 12 debuted onstage at WWDC 2018. This major update for iPhone and iPad has new Memoji characters, digital health features, Group FaceTime, redesigned notifications and a whole lot more. So far, AppleInsider has been able to track down a total of 150 new features.

As far as what has changed since the original beta, the list is considerably smaller; AppleInsider managed to dig up over 30 changes in beta 2. Watch our quick video to see the updates for yourself.

Notable changes

  • Battery stats have been redesigned
  • In the Home app, cameras have been removed from “Notifications” section
  • In Home app, Locks has become “Doors and Locks” in Notifications section
  • In Home app,Locks (now Doors and Locks) has new icon in Notifications section
  • In Home app, Blinds has new icon in Notifications section
  • Screen Time automatically turned off in beta 2, needs re-enabled
  • New splash screen for Screen Time
  • Removed toggle for clearing Screen Time data
  • Interface for adding time limits to apps from the main Screen Time screen has been tweaked
  • Tapping on an app displays more info on the app in Screen Time
  • Toggle off Siri Suggestions for individual apps in Settings
  • New iCloud Keychain modal
  • New location icon in status bar
  • iPad gets pull down handle for Control Center on Lock Screen
  • In Spotlight, new arrows for shortcuts to apps
  • Podcasts app shows Now Playing indicator on current chapter
  • iMessages preview animation on Lock Screen (and other preview animations) looks great
  • New SIM pin unlock screen
  • Time Travel removed from Watch app
  • Smaller text in App Store search
  • In Photos, Albums and media type names are larger
  • Face ID animations are quicker
  • Spotlight now listed in Browse section of News app
  • AM and PM show on iPad status bar clock
  • AirPlay icon is now blue when connected in Music Lock Screen widget
  • Suggestion animation in Spotlight is much smoother
  • Carrier info back in Settings
  • When signing in with Face ID, now says “Scanning with Face ID”
  • New splash screen for Voice Memos app
  • New splash screen for Shortcuts in Spotlight
  • iPhone apps running on iPad now use larger iPhone 6 version

 

 

 

Source: Apple Insider

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Mobile Phones

APPLE SLAPPED WITH $6.6M FINE IN AUSTRALIA OVER BRICKED DEVICES

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Apple has been fined AUS$9M (~$6.6M) by a court in Australia following a legal challenge by a consumer rights group related to the company’s response after iOS updates bricked devices that had been repaired by third parties.

The Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission (ACCC) invested a series of complaints relating to an error (‘error 53’) which disabled some iPhones and iPads after owners downloaded an update to Apple’s iOS operating system.

The ACCC says Apple admitted that, between February 2015 and February 2016 — via the Apple US’ website, Apple Australia’s staff in-store and customer service phone calls — it had informed at least 275 Australian customers affected by error 53 that they were no longer eligible for a remedy if their device had been repaired by a third party.

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The court judged Apple’s action to have breached the Australian consumer law.

“If a product is faulty, customers are legally entitled to a repair or a replacement under the Australian Consumer Law, and sometimes even a refund. Apple’s representations led customers to believe they’d be denied a remedy for their faulty device because they used a third party repairer,” said ACCC commissioner Sarah Court in a statement.

“The Court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer’s right to a remedy being extinguished.”

The ACCC notes that after it notified Apple about its investigation, the company implemented an outreach program to compensate individual consumers whose devices were made inoperable by error 53. It says this outreach program was extended to approximately 5,000 consumers.

It also says Apple Australia offered a court enforceable undertaking to improve staff training, audit information about warranties and Australian Consumer Law on its website, and improve its systems and procedures to ensure future compliance with the law.

The ACCC further notes that a concern addressed by the undertaking is that Apple was allegedly providing refurbished goods as replacements, after supplying a good which suffered a major failure — saying Apple has committed to provide new replacements in those circumstances if the consumer requests one.

“If people buy an iPhone or iPad from Apple and it suffers a major failure, they are entitled to a refund. If customers would prefer a replacement, they are entitled to a new device as opposed to refurbished, if one is available,” said Court.

The court also held the Apple parent company, Apple US, responsible for the conduct of its Australian subsidiary. “Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, or they will face ACCC action,” added Court.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on the court decision and will update this post with any response.

A company spokeswoman told Reuters it had had “very productive conversations with the ACCC about this” but declined to comment further on the court finding.

More recently, Apple found itself in hot water with consumer groups around the world over its use of a power management feature that throttled performance on older iPhones to avoid unexpected battery shutdowns.

The company apologized in December for not being more transparent about the feature, and later said it would add a control allowing consumers to turn it off if they did not want their device’s performance to be impacted.

 

 

 

 

Source: Techcrunch

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Industry

GOOGLE LAUNCHES A PODCAST APP FOR ANDROID WITH PERSONALIZED RECOMMENDATIONS

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Google today is introducing a new standalone podcast app for Android. The app, called simply Google Podcasts, will use Google’s recommendation algorithms in an effort to connect people with shows they might enjoy based on their listening habits. While podcasts have previously been available on Android through Google Play Music and third-party apps, Google says the company expects Podcasts to bring the form to hundreds of millions of new listeners around the world. (Google Listen, an early effort to build what was then called a “podcatcher” for Android, was killed off in 2012.)

“There’s still tons of room for growth when it comes to podcast listening,” said Zack Reneau-Wedeen, product manager on the app. Creating a native first-party Android app for podcasts “could as much as double worldwide listenership of podcasts overall,” he said.

Google Podcasts will look familiar to anyone who has used a podcast app before. It lets you search for new podcasts, download them, and play them at your convenience. More than 2 million podcasts will be available on the app on launch day, Google says, including “all of the ones you’ve heard of.”

Open the app, and a section called “For you” shows you new episodes of shows you’ve subscribed to, episodes you’ve been listening to but haven’t finished, and a list of your downloaded episodes. Scroll down, and you’ll see top and trending podcasts, both in general and by category. The podcast player has fewer fine-grained controls than you might be used to from apps like Overcast. You can’t customize the skip buttons or create playlists of podcasts to listen to, for example.

The Podcasts app is integrated with Google Assistant, meaning you can search for and play podcasts wherever you have Assistant enabled. The company will sync your place in a podcast across all Google products, so if you listen to half a podcast on your way home from work, you can resume it on your Google Home once you’re back at the house.

In the coming months, Google plans to add a suite of features to Podcasts that are powered by artificial intelligence. One feature will add closed captions to your podcast, so you can read along as you listen. It’s a feature that could be useful to people who are hard of hearing or for anyone who is listening in a noisy environment. (I usually miss a few minutes of the podcasts I listen to every day, thanks to a noisy subway ride.)

Closed captions also mean that you’ll be able to skip ahead to see what’s coming up later in a show. Eventually, you’ll be able to read real-time live transcriptions in the language of your choice, letting you “listen” to a podcast even if you don’t speak the same tongue as the host.

Google also wants to expand the number of people making podcasts. The company’s research showed that only one-quarter of podcast hosts are female, and even fewer are people of color. In an effort to diversify the field, Google formed an independent advisory board that will consider ways to promote podcast production outside of the handful of major metropolitan areas in the United States that currently dominate the field.

Google will not pay any creators to make podcasts directly, the company said, but it will likely explore ways of giving podcasts from underrepresented creators extra promotion. It’s also examining ways to make recording equipment more accessible to people who can’t afford it.

If you already listen to podcasts on Google Play Music, nothing will change today. But the company made it clear that it plans to focus its future efforts around podcasting in the standalone app.

The Android app can be downloaded here. There are currently no plans for an iOS app.

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