This week, Apple confirmed the many rumors running rampant in the iPhone fan world: They announced two new phones, the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. Just as many Apple enthusiasts predicted, the iPhone 5s has a fingerprint sensor and comes in a new champagne color, while the iPhone 5c is a lower-cost version that comes in a rainbow of colors. Both of these phones are equipped with iOS 7, Apple's redesigned operating system announced earlier this year.
With these big announcements, Apple didn't just release two new phones. They also opened doors to new ways their flagship device has become even more suited for use in business and by businesses.
The iPhone 5s' newest feature is Touch ID, a fingerprint reader embedded on the home button. With this technology, your fingerprint is your password. Instead of inputting traditional passcodes, users can unlock the screen and authenticate purchases by simply scanning placing their finger on the home button.
The security advantages of Touch ID for business users are twofold. First, instead of inputting traditional passcodes that can be guessed or stolen, users can further keep their data secure as only they can unlock the screen and authenticate purchases using their fingerprints. Second, fingerprint data never leaves the device, yet is secure enough that it is inaccessible to hackers and cannot be used should the device get lost or stolen, which Apple made very clear during their launch.
"Fingerprints may seem like the ultimate authentication method," said Stina Ehrensvard, CEO of Yubico, an authentication and security vendor. "They are something unique to you that you always have at hand."
Users, however, should make sure not to confuse Touch ID with overall mobile security. Touch ID is native to the device and only enhances mobile and network security. Time will tell if Touch ID is as secure as it seems to be, Ehrensvard said.
"The technologies around fingerprint recognition are not very robust and have low entropy," Ehrensvard said. "However, once the technology is proven to be more dependable, using biometrics to unlock a local device owned by the user could be useful, but where the actual interaction between the device and the server happens is with high security chips built into devices. Though not clearly specified at this stage, this may also be the approach that Apple has taken."Credit: Ross Toro, Infographics Artist
Along with the iPhone 5s, Apple also released the iPhone 5c, a lower-cost alternative that comes in five colors: green, blue, yellow, pink and white. For consumers, this means a wider range of iPhone products to choose from. For businesses, it's an opportunity to reach a wider range of consumers via mobile marketing.
"The launch of the iPhone 5c and 5s brings a significant opportunity for marketers who are seeking to engage consumers with their brand via the mobile device," said James Citron, chief marketing officer of payvia, a mobile messaging solutions provider.
Citron said iPhone users are the most engaged group when it comes to mobile content and marketing. Not only do they send more MMS messages and buy more products using iPhone devices, but payvia's research shows that more than half of consumers who opt to receive text message marketing materials are iPhone users. The availability of the cheaper iPhone 5c device can only amplify that.
"To date, the overall market of mobile consumers that Apple reaches is small and is focused on the high value segment," Citron said. But the introduction of the lower-cost iPhone 5c will bring a big impact for marketers, he said.
"As the iPhone grows a bigger global and domestic market share, the consumption of MMS and mobile advertising by consumers will grow. This is particularly important for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands who need to reach a broad demographic of consumers, not just the high value segment," Citron said.
For those in the high value segment, mobile commerce will also increase as the iPhone 5s makes it easier for consumers to make mobile payments, Citron added.
"Today, 97 percent of transactions on a mobile device get abandoned due to the process of entering credit card information on a small screen," Citron said. "With Apple's introduction of fingerprint technology, we'll see a further growth in mobile payments as Apple is again simplifying the mobile device experience, making it easier for people to purchase the products they want, whenever and wherever they want."
iOS 7 and app management
The new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c comes with iOS 7, Apple's latest and most advanced operating system yet. While the OS overhaul includes a fresh, modern design and a slew of features that are meant to enhance the user experience, iOS 7 means big changes for app developers and businesses that have or want to create an app. They will need to rethink how apps interact and anticipate costs the new OS brings.
"iOS 7 is a much bigger disruption than most people think," said Ludo Collin, CEO of EachScape, a drag-and-drop mobile app creator and mobile development platform. "It has a different look and feel, but more importantly, it fundamentally changes how the apps are connected and the way they receive data," he said.
To keep your app current, iOS 7 will require larger investments to keep up with changes in the operating system.
"Data management is at the core of many apps," Collin said. "That means companies have to up their yearly investment to keep their apps fresh and up to date."
These investments include creating or updating apps to make them consistent with iOS 7's design requirements and specifications, in combination with a reassessment of how a business manages data that comes in and out of their app.
"That change is the most important of all because the app will anticipate your needs. The apps will be ready before you are, not when you are," he said. "That's a deep technological change to implement."
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.