Apple's iOS, where "i" is for irony

Apple's iOS, where "i" is for irony

Summary: Apple has repeatedly stated that they are a consumer company and not interested in the Enterprise. Funny, but their operating system says different.


In my recent interview with Boxtone's Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Product Officer, Brian Reed, I observed that while Enterprise users embrace Apple products in BYOD programs, Apple has no interest in the Enterprise. However, they do include Cisco VPN software with their iOS devices. This fact alone makes their whole "Consumer Only" shtick a little, well, ironic. The irony is that Apple provides fantastic devices with an operating system that is extendable, customizable and ready for Enterprise work but yet shuns the notion that Enterprise users are also consumers.

I find it all a bit ironic.

And weird.

The Problem

The primary issue with this kind of attitude is that users, Enterprise and otherwise, will have to rely on App developers to create the Apps necessary for Enterprise work. And, the word Enterprise here means "business." When I speak of Enterprise, I actually refer to any user who uses his Apple iOS-based device for business use. Some business uses are connecting to SharePoint sites in the corporate network, using SSH to connect to and to work with *nix systems or using corporate Exchange mail (ironically, also a built-in feature in iOS) to write email to other corporate users.

The problem is that, instead of relying on Apple to update its iOS to accomodate new features and additional bug fixes, we have to hope that third-party App developers will incorporate these same features and bug fixes in a timely manner. For certain capabilities such as VPN access, two-factor authentication, file sharing, mail and a few other key features, I don't want to rely on anyone but Apple.

I'm all for independent developers and their ability to provide great Apps at reasonable prices to us, the Enterprise consumers, but there are some things better left to the operating system and to those who designed it.

Of course, Apple's inclusion of these features does not preclude third parties from writing and selling competing Apps. Developers who think that they can do it better can certainly give it their best efforts. 

For example, I spoke with John Hanay, Director of Product Management, Partnerpedia and Sam Liu, VP of Marketing, Partnerpedia last week and we covered some of the same ground about Apple and the Enterprise and the odd disconnect between what Enterprise consumers want and what Apple delivers--at least in words.

The Disconnect

For those of us who use our iOS-based devices on the corporate network, we realize that they can be quite handy. I can open a presentation on my iPad, walk over to a colleague's cubicle and explain, face-to-face to her, what I want to do. It's very simple. If Apple were Enterprise-oriented, I'd be able to share that presentation in real time with my colleague without having to leave my seat.

Sure, I know that there are Whiteboard Apps available but what I'm talking about is the following:

I have a presentation, document or some file I want to edit in real-time with another person or group of persons in sort of a creative "think tank" session. I'd like to see a built-in browse utility for other iOS-based devices to invite to the collaboration "room."

During the collaboration, each invitee can view, edit, move and manipulate the file as if it were on the invitee's local device. That's just one example. You might have others in mind that you'd like to see. I think having certain Apps native to iOS is essential to being able to do more than playing Angry Birds or playing Words with Friends.

Obviously, Apple doesn't see the disconnect because of its success. But, if the gadgets we buy from them are going to be used in business, we need that support. I understand that if consumers use a product in a way that's different than its original design, the manufacturer isn't responsible but seriously, business use of iOS-based devices isn't far-fetched or off the charts. It's reasonable, especially given that Apple provides that aforementioned VPN and Exchange connectivity.

The Solution

Of course, the obvious resolution to this problem is for Apple to bend to my will and create a business version of its iPad and possibly its iPhone.

What's wrong with producing and supporting two differently oriented devices?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Instead of producing and supporting some stupid small iPad, a business version makes way more sense. But, that's my solution to the problem.

A business iPad would have a full suite of pre-installed Apps for business plus a Business App Store for Enterprise purchases. For example, if I, as a manager of a group, wanted to purchase 50 copies of QuickOffice for my department, I could and QuickOffice would be pushed to all 50 Business iPads. Yes, that does have the stank of MDM on it, doesn't it?

And, it should. That's part of the Business iPad model. Apple products can do so much.

So, my solution is for Apple to produce the Business iPad.

I think we should give it a name to help them make their decision to produce one that much easier. Here are my entries:

iBiz Pad

Please, feel free to post your own. Be creative.

What do you think of a Business version of the iPad? Would you or your company buy it? What would you like to see as built-in features on it? Talk back and let me know.

Topics: Apple, iOS, Mobile OS, Mobility


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • Apple's iOS, where "i" is for irony

    Its simple to figure out. Apple won't create an iPad for the business because they don't want to deal with SLAs. If they say its a consumer product, no SLA involved and they can take their sweet time updating or doing anything else to it that they want. We all know how well their customer service is when they tell their techs not to help. This is just their way of getting around that.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Oh Please

      Apple isn't going after the Enterprise market for SERVERS. But Cisco has several different FREE apps for the iPad and iPhone. Apps like AnyConnect, WebEx Meetings, etc. Lots of companies writing apps for iPads and iPhones that are for the Enterprise Market.

      There are corporations that buy Macs for their users that aren't BYOD related.

      Heck, go into Nordstroms, they use iPhones as a cash register for God's sake. There are software solutions to make an iPad a cash register, they have ways to use these i devices for things that PCs haven't been used for. So, these things only consumer products is just BS.

      Banks are using iPads, Auto Mfg are using iPads, very large companies are using iPads and Macs, so don't be fooled.
  • Sorry, cannot resist. Apologies in advance.

    1. Surface Pro
    2. iBM
    3. iBad
    4. iSue
    5. iGrindstone
    • Definitely the Surface Pro!

      Oh wait, that one is taken!
    • And when Windows 8 tablets and Surface come out


      • Wanna bet?

        Seriously, do you?
        Set the metric by which you measure success, the point where you consider something pwned, and put up or shut up.
        • Really

          c'mon, give it a rest. Try contributing something productive.
          • How is challenging B.S.ers and trolls...

            ...on their and trolling not productive?
  • How much business can we expect from...

    an operating system designed to power MP3 players/Phones and is managed by a program called "iTunes".

    I think what you are asking for should come with OSx and not iOS.

    So my suggestion is the MacPad.
    • Um, iOS IS OSX

      • Let me know

        when you can install iOS on a macbook or run some OSx software on an ipad.
        • iOS and OSX are already essentially the same thing

          iOS is simply a subset of a full OSX install, with a few revisions, and a different UI (Springboard). iOS was NOT an OS designed to run on mobile devices, it is UNIX with unnecessary parts (multiuser, etc.) removed.
          Nor is the OS managed by iTunes, whatever that means. From OS upgrades to app management, iOS is controlled by iOS, and has been for quite some time. iTunes is a backup and syncing utility. Where have you been?
          So iOS is essentially already installed on any OSX install. Running OSX software under iOS is a bit tricky, not because of the OS, but because of the UI APIs.

          So, again, what is your point?
          • It is FreeBSD, a Unix variant

            iOS is a whittled-down OS X, but not complete and you won't be able to run the full Adobe Creative Suite products on it... or virtual machines (which is more CPU-intensive that agonizing remote control methods...)
          • Um, no, it's not

            But thanks for playing. iOS, just like OSX, is MACH, with freeBSD extensions for POSIX.
            But thanks for playing.
            And VMs are actually not that CPU intensive. If they were, you would not be able to use them efficiently to host virtual servers, as they would use more CPU cycles than just running the OS in dedicated hardware.
  • Apple excuses

    "Apple has repeatedly stated that they are a consumer company and not interested in the Enterprise."

    The corporation's official lame excuse for consistently failing to catch up with Microsoft or even come close in the Enterprise.
    Tim Acheson
    • Well that is an "opinion" and that is all

      it is. I disagree... apple is doing great guns where it is now and likely any more business would overwhelm them at least for a time and that could negatively effect Apple. Soma controlled, focused growth well managed is far better. Besides dividing ones focus could result in questionable decisions...mnot gonna mention any names as examples but I'm sure some people could make an interesting list of companies who's recent decisions are or have been questioned;)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Apple fan defending Apple?

        Say it isn't so! To assume Apple is not interested in the Enterprise market is a silly assumption. They've just been extremely unsuccessful for so many years, I believe they've given up. Consumers are a lot easier to trick then large corporations.
    • Our resident iHater is back at it again

      If Apple does not "...even come close in the Enterprise..." as you claim then why are more and more companies deploying iPads and iPhones? Why are there more and more iOS devices in the enterprise?
      • Lack of something else? Also the BYOD.

        so if not the iPad, then what? Surface?

        Also, a company is saving a boatload of cash by letting people bring their own devices. They also aren't responsible if it's lost or stolen, or broken on the job. A win/Win there.
        William Farrel
        • nice security...

          A company with any sort of security standards would have to be responsible for managing these devices. Sure lose the hardware no big deal, but if not managed correctly you could also lose company data.....