After installing the new Skype for Business application and taking a closer look at the Microsoft apps I have loaded on my Apple iPhone 6s Plus, it turns out that the 6s Plus is exactly what I have been looking for in an enterprise smartphone.
I've been using the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (see my full review) as my daily driver for more than a month thanks to its excellent functionality and support for my engineering consulting work. It now looks like the 6s Plus matches that functionality so choosing a single phone to get the job done is even tougher.
Last December, ZDNet's Ed Bott posted a gallery of 12 essential Microsoft business apps for the iPhone. Since then, we have seen significant updates to those apps, as well as new Microsoft apps, and the launches of the Apple Watch and iPhone 6s Plus. All of these factors contribute to my satisfaction with the iPhone 6s Plus.
Skype for Business
My engineering consulting company updated from Lync to Skype for interoffice communications and then also integrated our telephone system. While this is a great experience in the office on our Windows computers, I travel frequently and also work outside of traditional business hours.
The new Skype for Business app improves the Lync 2013 experience, particularly in regards to the meeting experience. I also use it for messaging with associates who are in the office or on the road. Another reason I use it is to access an associate's contact card in order to communicate with them outside of the office.
Outlook for iOS
Microsoft launched Outlook for iOS back in January, one month after purchasing Acompli. Microsoft has regularly updated Outlook and after more testing on my new iPhone 6s Plus, I've made Outlook my primary email and calendar application.
I just discovered that the Note 5 isn't the only smartphone that gives me full access to my Global Address List. Outlook for iOS and Skype for Business both support this access and I no longer have to worry about missing contact information for fellow associates. This is an important feature for me as a supervisor and improves the efficiency and utility of my smartphone.
Fantastical 2 is an awesome calendar application that I was using as my default, even giving it a place on the lower toolbar of my iPhone. After more Outlook use, I found that Outlook is a perfectly acceptable alternative and I can reduce the number of apps I am working with to manage my day. I would like to see reminders integrated into Outlook, but doubt that is happening anytime soon.
There is also an Apple Watch Outlook application, including a Glance, and it offers an even better email experience on the Watch than the default iOS Mail client.
As professional engineers, my associates and I generate internal tools and calculation methods, identify essential resources, and need to share project history. My company has gravitated to using OneNote as a central shared repository for these various forms of data so having access to this information on my iPhone makes my iPhone an even more powerful tool.
I have also migrated to using OneNote, from Evernote, as my primary note taking application. My Surface Pro 3 had a lot to do with that. Having selected a single application for all of my idea and note capturing needs helps me be more efficient while also allowing me to completely learn and understand the power of the application.
Office for iOS
Excel and Word are used daily in my engineering role and having the ability to create, edit, and review Office documents on the large display of the iPhone 6s Plus is outstanding. Microsoft regularly updates these iOS tools and I look forward to even more refinements in the future.
Microsoft Office Lens
Office Lens for iOS (iTunes link) is a simple utility, but one that turns out to be extremely valuable for my business. I use it to scan in business cards, capture engineering discussions written on whiteboards, and take photos of my travel receipts.
Office Lens does a great job at digitizing media and integrates well with OneNote. Business card output can even be exported and used to create new contacts.
If Microsoft did not provide all of these tools for iOS, then I could not use the Apple iPhone 6s Plus as my primary smartphone. I would probably be using a Windows Phone instead, but am thankful that Microsoft has developed these applications since the iPhone is a better smartphone than current Microsoft offerings and I now get the best of both worlds.
I look forward to seeing Microsoft integrate some of the new Apple innovation into its apps, such as 3D Touch.
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