This is part two of a two part series focused on the iPhone 4.0 Operating System (OS) recently announced by Apple.
Enterprise and Security:
One of the key updates in iPhone OS 4.0 are related to enterprise – the Blackberry’s forte. The upgrade in enterprise will be instrumental in the iPad and iPhone platforms penetration into large health care business, such as hospitals or hospital systems. Here, the new features are aimed at pleasing the healthcare IT department by simplifying mass iPhone/iPad deployment and enhancing data security and Microsoft Exchange integration.
In contrast to small ambulatory clinics, large hospital systems may have to deploy hundreds or thousands of devices at a time. iPhone OS 4.0 will allow wireless device provisioning, so the IT department can be sure all users’ iPhones start with the same setup. Devices can be remotely locked or wiped, in the case of loss or theft.
For example, if a healthcare provider loses their iPad, you can quickly locate it using GPS. If it’s apparent the iPad has been stolen and is off the hospital campus, the IT department can erase all the data on the iPad remotely – preventing patient data from falling into the wrong hands.
In terms of data security, now all application data can be encrypted. Before, only email messages, calendars, and contacts could be encrypted. And, now one iPhone or iPad can by synced with multiple Microsoft Exchange accounts, this is especially nice since the new Mail app will have a unified mailbox that allows all messages to be viewed simultaneously, instead of the user having to switch screens between multiple email accounts.
The addition to the iPhone OS that could possibly have the largest effect on the health of the platform is “iAd” advertising. Although this feature most likely will not effect medical applications, this truly innovative technology allows a small banner ad to be periodically displayed at the bottom of the screen, and responds to a user click by expanding to fill the whole screen. At that point, the ad producer can display animation, video, interactive games and even polls, providing a compelling, almost cinematic advertising experience. At any time, the user can tap a small “x” at the top to resume the suspended application. The infrastructure for iAd is integrated directly into the operating system (and patented). Apple will host and sell ad inventory, no doubt fortified by their recent acquisition of the mobile ad agency Quattro.
The importance of this for the iPhone OS, however, is that advertising revenue will be split 60:40 with the developer. While the future success of the iPhone OS platform will depend on Apple continuing to refine the software and hardware, it’s critical that Apple attract developers to continue writing applications for the iPhone OS.
There have now been 85 million iPhone OS devices sold, giving Apple a potentially massive audience for mobile advertising. If the iAd platform is successful, the increased competition should lead to higher quality medical and healthcare applications – and hopefully cheaper ones as well.
Apple billed version 4 of its iPhone OS as the “the biggest and most exciting iPhone software update yet.” The consumer and enterprise features appear to address the most frequently cited shortcomings of the operating system, while recognizing mobile devices’ needs to preserve CPU and memory resources as well as battery life. The 4.0 update is currently only available to developers. iPhone users will be able to upgrade this summer, while iPad users will have to wait it out until Fall 2010.
We can’t stress how important the enterprise and security features are for the viability of the iPhone OS in the healthcare setting. Consumers can feel more assured their personal data will be protected – and mobile health industry leaders should take these signs as a serious attempt by Apple to court them.
ltifat Husain contributed to this post