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Multiple enhancements in the Apple iPhone 7 will improve the device's usefulness in business settings.
New Apple iPhone 7 features that may intrigue business users include increased storage capacity, more durability, faster connectivity and better performance through Apple's latest processor. Apple announced the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus this week, and they will be available Sept. 16.
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"Businesses and IT will continue to see Apple as a big part of their user base, and that's a significant thing," said Michael Oh, managing CTO and founder at TSP LLC, an Apple reseller based in Cambridge, Mass.
Apple doubled the storage across all iPhone 7 models, so users can pick between 32 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB of storage. This increase allows users to hold more content on their devices, which is both a good and bad thing, said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of research firm Moor Insights and Strategy in Austin, Texas.
"You could get more challenges because users could put an entire file system on an iPhone," Moorhead said. "That makes it easier for employees to access their content, but what about the problem that comes from having all the files on the device?"
Michael Ohmanaging CTO and founder, TSP LLC
With more corporate content on a device, there is a bigger risk of data loss. IT may have to pay more attention to mobile device management, because there will be a bigger need to protect what is on those devices, Moorhead said.
"But, overall, it's a net positive," he added. "When is more storage not a good thing?"
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are water-resistant and dustproof, making them more durable, which is a plus for business users -- especially those who do field work. Apple also added an average of two more hours of battery life per charge to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, bringing their totals to 12 and 13 hours of LTE browsing, respectively.
Apple improved the connectivity of the phones with LTE Advanced, so the devices can get up to 450 Mbps -- up from 300 Mbps in the iPhone 6s. And the new iPhones have a more powerful processor in Apple's A10 Fusion chip, which is 40% faster than the previous A9 processor, the company said.
"The more performance you can put on it, the more heavy-duty work you can actually do," Moorhead said. "Overall, they increased their chances of users upgrading to the next version."
The iPhone 7 starts at $649, and the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $749.
Real-time collaboration comes to iWorks
In other business news from the Apple media event, a new collaboration feature in iWorks will allow users to work together on documents, spreadsheets and slideshow presentations in real time. Users can assign team members to enter a collaboration session and see the changes each of them makes as they happen. This feature is something that competing vendors, such as Microsoft and Google, already offer.
"[This] is clearly Apple playing catch-up," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, a mobile analyst firm in Northborough, Mass. "Their users have been clamoring for this kind of tool for a while."
Still, many organizations won't use iWorks, because they prefer Google or Microsoft Office 365 collaboration tools, Gold said. Apple is behind in the business collaboration market, and this new feature isn't a big differentiator, he added.
Apple Watch Series 2
Apple also unveiled an updated version of its smartwatch. Apple Watch Series 2 aims to address concerns about its predecessor regarding iPhone dependence, screen visibility and durability. The new device now has built-in GPS capabilities, a brighter screen and a waterproof build.
"Apple is trying to reposition the smartwatch as less of a peripheral to a phone," Gold said. "If it's an accessory to my phone, do I need that?"
Apple Watch Series 2 will start at $369, and it will be available Sept. 16.
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