Mobility is the fastest changing part of business today. So, it’s not easy to predict what’s going to happen in the upcoming year. But perhaps we can gauge what will happen by the things we know won't.
1. "Apple to Release No Devices." On January 2, Reuters reported that Apple was already testing a new iPhone and iOS7. The article cites The Next Web which uncovered "app usage logs references to a new iPhone identifier iPhone 6.1, running iOS 7 operating system."
Insiders predict a possible mid-year release. Such a date would certainly show that Apple is once again shortening time in between releases. The iPhone 5 was only unveiled in September 2012 and the iPad mini in November; both were expected. The iPad 4, however, was a surprise, so we can be sure there will be more of those for 2013. What remains to be seen, though: how much Apple fatigue will this new schedule cause?
2. "RIM Stock Hits $705.57." BlackBerry 10 is being marketed to both current users and consumers, and despite consistent upticks in the stock in Q4 and better than expected results in Q3, the stock took a hit just after the earnings report when president and CEO Thorsten Heins, in a call to investors and analysts, announced a pricing model change which could affect one-third of the company's revenue. So, the ticker won't show RIM reaching Apple's historic high.
The launch of BlackBerry 10 is only a few weeks away, but sales are not expected until later in the quarter. Analysts agree that this is a make-or-break year for RIM. Heins has said that he believes the company has "turned the corner," and that "the mobile landscape is preparing for another shift, and with BlackBerry 10, we are at the start of a new era of mobile computing... that is why we built a new platform on new architecture from the ground up, not just a new device."
3. "Employees Rebel - Leave Their Devices at Home." Apple's working on a new iPhone already; Blackberry 10 was "built for BYOD from the ground up," according to Jeff Holleran, senior director, enterprise product management for RIM; and this Christmas, there was a 332% increase in mobile device activations so let’s just call it BYOD and have the "d" stand for done.
BYOD is status quo for most enterprises, but what is not standard yet, are policies and management of all (or some) of employee owned devices. It won’t be easy to keep up, but companies need to set policies, be proactive about what devices they will choose to support and implement solutions that will enable scale.
4. "Tablets are Dead – Long Live the PC." As mentioned, there were more devices activated this holiday season than ever before and, in fact, "While smartphone activations typically outpace that of tablets by 4:1, on Christmas Day 2012, more tablets were activated than smartphones," according to Peter Farago, Flurry's vice president of marketing, in the company blog. Other stats from 2012, show that the opposite of this faux headline to be true and Gartner actually declared the end of the PC.
Plus, tablets are not only replacing PCs, they are overtaking laptops as well. The analyst company said, "By 2015 media tablet shipments will reach around 50% of laptop shipments." Tablets, of course, are part of BYOD and must be considered under policies and solutions. They bring never before seen capabilities to the mobile workforce and while we have repeatedly said that apps are what’s running the enterprise today, apps will rule more of the conversation this year.
5. "IT Gives Mobile Management to the User." Yes, the buck stops here. While IT may have lost a bit of control over what devices are coming into the enterprise, true chaos would come from user management. Imagine the security issues alone. The question for most enterprises right now is: Who owns mobility?
Traditionally there has been siloed responsibility for mobility, but we should see a move toward more enterprise-wide management. Evidence of this will be revealed in the January issue of Mobile Enterprise magazine (out tomorrow), where the cover story includes results of an executive survey. Only 3% of companies responded that they have a Chief Mobility Officer or similar title dedicated to mobility alone. IT leadership is responsible in 36% of the cases and business leadership comes in at 21%, however 30% of respondents said that mobility is managed in siloes.
But the move toward enterprise-wide management and mobility is also evident in the survey and throughout recent conversations. The survey showed that 70% of companies expect to make this shift within the next five years. One of the panelists at the 2012 Mobile Enterprise Executive Summit said that there is no such thing as a mobility project, but that every enterprise project should have a mobility piece. Solution providers are also following this, with many beginning to go from straight MDM offerings to a more holistic approach as well.