By Charles Edge
With Apple’s iOS 9 release, it’s worth considering just how the new features in store will impact small businesses users. From easier ways to multitask on an iPad, traveling with Transit Maps or getting a better grasp of your images stored in the Photo app, there are lots of ways that small businesses can make the most of their Apple devices by migrating to iOS 9. Here’s a look at the top eight new iOS 9 features that will matter most to small business.
Formatting and QuickType
Many organizations are trying to replace a desktop computer with an iPad. In some cases, this works out. In others, the organization just ends up with more hardware that ends up costing even more to run.
With new formatting and QuickType features in iOS 9, the iPad takes a new step forward in bridging the gap between tablet and desktop by becoming easier to use as a content creation tool. This means that small businesses can better leverage their iPad investments, speed productivity and save money in the long run.
Multiple ways to multitask
While I prefer having only a single app open at a time to focus on a given task, others truly need more support for multitasking. The new Split-view, Slide Over and Picture in Picture in iOS 9 offers users new ways to perform multitasking on an iPad, providing lots of great options. Being able to work off multiple apps at a time on the iPad makes getting everything you need easier than ever.
Easy tech help with Quick Search
Supporting employees with new technology can be difficult in small businesses. Unlike in larger enterprises, an initiative to bring in an entirely new platform or upgrade to a new operating system can mean spending considerable time for a small business to figure out how to use those systems in the first place. With iOS 9’s new option to search within settings, now your employees can search to help train themselves with administrative tasks and more.
Photo organization for the win
We work with a lot of smaller real estate companies, who often use iOS devices to take hundreds of photos of homes and offices that are ready to be sold or leased. Similarly, tech companies are constantly taking photos as well in the form of screenshots. The new Photos app in iOS 9 organizes screens more intelligently, to filter photos taken in different ways into different folders.
Jump back to previous apps in a Flash
Your staff will be able to navigate between apps faster than ever using the new “Back Button” for apps in iOS 9. Before, if you wanted to go back to your previous app, you would double-tap on the home button, swipe over to that app and then tap on it. But now, in the title bar, there’s a new “Back to” button that takes you back to the previous application, so it’s a one-tap jump!
Take smarter Notes
The new Notes sharing option in iOS 9 allows you to embed maps (helpful, for example, in the case real estate agents who visit multiple locations), websites, to-do lists and information from third party apps into Notes that can be shared with others. Notes also offers the ability to insert checklists and even sketch little diagrams with your fingers. Having these built-in features means you won’t have to buy extra apps to do such tasks – although these types of apps are surely to get better and are becoming more enticing to buy.
Transit Maps get you where you want to go
When you travel to big cities, the last thing you may want to do is to rent a car as in many places, public transit is just faster – not to mention, cheaper. The new transit maps in iOS 9 will help your employees find their way to more places, costing you less in travel. And when you and your staff are on the road, the new “Nearby” option will help you find the best nearby places to eat, buy food and coffee so you can keep going after a hard day on the road.
The best is yet to come
Finally, the most important impact of iOS 9 won’t really be seen for a little while. Between HomeKit (which can manage home automation technology in businesses as well), new multitasking APIs, new options in Swift 2, new categories of features and even CarKit, iOS 9 provides developers with a lot more options to keep new apps coming. In the future we’ll see more creative and useful apps, many of which will address the small business needs of both today and tomorrow.
Charles Edge is product manager at JAMF Software, where he leads Bushel – a mobile device management (MDM) solution designed for small organizations and users with limited IT experience. He holds nearly 20 years experience as a developer, administrator and CTO, and is passionate about helping every day users manage and make the most of their mobile devices. @.