Apple has never billed itself as a company with any type of small business focus. However, i’s products are used by a large portion of the mobile professional world – which includes small business owner. At its recent developers conference, Apple released an amazing line up of new products and services – there’s 6 you should keep a close eye on.
Li-at Karpel Gurwicz is Vice President of Marketing at Como, a leading do-it-yourself mobile app creation platform and provides insight into Apple’s new products.
Apple developers recognize that business is now being conducted in a mobile world—and that reality was evident at WWDC 2014, which focused largely on new features that offer increased flexibility and efficiency for companies of all sizes. There were six key announcements from this year’s WWDC that should be on the radar of every small business owner:
- Instant Hotspot
- Call from Mac
- iCloud Drive
- Expanded AirDrop
- Mail Drop
One key feature promising to enhance communication between Apple’s mobile devices and Mac computers is the Instant Hotspot. This innovative tool within Apple’s OS X Yosemite and iOS 8—both of which are coming this fall—will let you use your phone’s cellular connection as a Wi-Fi hotspot for your Mac computer more easily. Your Mac will automatically find your phone and allow you to start using the connection with just a few clicks. Additionally, you will soon be able to use a Wi-Fi connection to make phone calls and send and receive text messages on your Mac via your iPhone. For a small business owner, the ability to use your phone’s connection as a WiFi hotspot ensures consistent access to the internet no matter the location. It also offers creative solutions for business meeting locations. For example, real estate agents are now able to hold client meetings at construction sites and use their computers to model the site’s future structure, all via their smart phone’s internet connection.
Apple also announced the introduction of iCloud Drive, a Dropbox alternative for streamlined and organized file sharing. Users can get five GB of storage for free, which they can sync across their various Apple devices. Those who want more can buy 20 GB of storage for $0.99 per month or 200 GB for $3.99 per month. This allows small businesses involved in content creation to more easily and inexpensively share files among employees, no matter where they are located.
Also important for file sharing is the forthcoming Expanded AirDrop. Whereas AirDrop previously only allowed for file sharing either between mobile devices or between Mac computers, this upgraded version will let you share files between your iPhone and your Mac. And for users looking to send very large attachments, Apple’s new Mail Drop feature offers a solution: Users can store attachments of up to 5GB in iCloud and then send a link to let others download the file. Mail Drop is a cost efficient way for small businesses in the creative fields (web design, video production, etc.) to share very large files with their clients and ease long approval processes.
One of the most interesting developments from the conference is Handoff. This new feature, coming soon, will automatically sync work from essential apps across all of your Apple devices when logged into your iCloud account. For example, if you start an email on your phone and then pause, you can continue on your Mac from where you left off. Handoff also lets you start a document in iWork and then continue your work on your iPad. For the ever-busy small business owner, Handoff ensures that the idea you had on your way to your morning meeting isn’t lost in your iPhone’s drafts folder forever.