Pssst -- Apple came out with some big news just for CIOs this week. And it's not that, with iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, Mr. Cook officially takes the reins of the world's most valuable brand.
No, the iPhone 6/6 Plus with its big ol' screens, combined with Apple Pay, the mobile credit card, and the Apple Watch (you know your CEO wants one) mean that many CIOs will have to start all over again with making their enterprises mobile-ready. Call it Consumerism, the Sequel.
"[CIOs] have to think about apps for larger-screen iPhones -- a chance to improve apps -- or fall behind competitors," said Frank Gillett, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "The larger screens create a much larger canvas for mobile app experiences, which will help accelerate the mobile mind shift already under way."
And it's not just the larger screens that will accelerate that mind shift. "By bundling together hardware features (sensors, Bluetooth LE or even NFC), software (iOS 8, iCloud, iTunes, App Store) and their ecosystem of partners, the new device will enable brands to deliver more-seamless experiences, reducing the friction in offline customer journeys," wrote Gillett's colleague, Thomas Husson, in Forrester's blog.
So, you see what's ahead for you? Apple is building this web of digital partners to reduce the friction even more between technology and humans. The legacy of Steve Jobs is raising the bar again, which means CIOs will have to find a way to clear it. That's one of the many lessons we learned at this year's MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. Said panelist Roger Gurgani, Verizon CIO, of his company's customer engagement model: "We immersed ourselves into the natural experience -- the lives -- of our customers."
Here is another variation on the theme of why companies will need to upgrade their mobile game: "Having that ability to run an almost desktop-like app because you've got the screen resolution and real estate to be able to do that is going to be a big deal for a lot of people," said Bob O'Donnell, chief analyst for TECHnalysis Research in Foster City, California, to sister site SearchConsumerization. A big deal, indeed, given Forrester's projection of 213 million active smartphone users in the U.S. -- 66% of the total population -- by year's end.
As for the Apple Watch? You can't just wave that away either.
"For the first time since the Steve Jobs era, Apple is going to have an opportunity to reimagine and recreate how the global consumer views a certain product as a part of their life," said customer engagement expert Kevin Paul Scott, co-founder of consultancy ADDO Worldwide. (Remember how the iPod, iPhone and iPad did just that?)
According to Forrester Analyst JP Gownder, who focuses on wearable technology, Apple Watch will allow users to engage with the physical world more effectively. The device's health and fitness tracking features, in concert with its diverse partnerships with retailers and healthcare providers -- there's that web again -- creates "a value proposition that's different from simply pulling a phone out of one's pocket," he said.
Gownder, for one, thinks that the market for wearable devices in the enterprise might eventually overshadow that of the consumer market. (Yikes!) For workers in many professions, including surgeons, retail salespeople, public safety professionals and countless others, "enterprise wearables (of various flavors) promise to soon become essential tools in their every day jobs -- just as PCs, smartphones and, increasingly, tablets have become de rigeur productivity tools for information workers," he wrote. So there you have it. Get going -- the divide between technology and human, between the virtual and the physical, just narrowed again.
CIO news roundup for week of Sept. 8
Apple wasn't the only game in town during this week of remembrance for a Sept. 11 that, in tech time at least, seems long ago:
- AT&T has a new CIO, part of its IT reshuffling strategy as the company moves toward a software-defined public network. Pam Parisian will be reporting to former CIO Thaddeus Arroyo, who's been promoted to president of a new technology development group.
- Home Depot's payment card breach fiasco heats up: Two senators called for an investigation, and five states are launching their own. Experts think this attack could have far exceeded Target's breach.
- And another data leak! (Sigh.) This one was 5 million Gmail addresses and passwords. Yes, you should probably change your Google password, but this particular leak might not be as bad as you think.
- The dreaded spinning "loading" icon you saw on various sites Wednesday, which included Netflix, Reddit and Kickstarter, was actually an online protest against the FCC's proposal to do away with net neutrality. The deadline to get your thoughts in to the FCC is Sept. 15.
- Despite the spate of Twitter accounts that constantly get hacked, the social media platform is taking its chances with a Buy button. Through tweets, choice users will be able to purchase products from a range of merchants.
- Many people might live to work, but can they say they've lived at work -- for years? One Google employee can; he managed to live on Google's campus for so long, he saved up enough to buy a house.
See SearchConsumerization's take on iPhone 6 and iOS 8's impact on the enterprise. Get takeaways from this year's CES show on wearable technology. Finally, see Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond's advice on how to integrate mobile app dev into your development culture.