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  Apple iPhone and iPads - the best business choice?  

One in every three businesses we deal with in the Yorkshire area is currently operating their communications with Apple devices.  A lot more use the iPad and iPhone within their business, but not exclusively.

So what's the reason for using Apple devices, and are there any drawbacks to adopting an Apple orientated communication and technology strategy?

What Apple Tech is available?
Currently there are Apples range of iPhones and iPads which are being requested by our Yorkshire clients.  We estimate 75% of businesses Yorkshire businesses are operating their fleet of phones based on Apple.

The iPhone is the leading 'Smart Phone'.  Long gone are the days of a phone only allowing us to communicate verbally and send a few text messages - the iPhone single-handed raised the bar in terms of the capability of the technology we hold in our hands.  Email, web browsing, time management, video calling and a myriad of applications are now in the palm of your hand.

New versions of the iPhone emerge on average once a year, and at present the iPhone 6s is the latest.  However, always consider the previous version (currently the iPhone5) as well for a more cost effective entry into the world of Apple.  In terms of tariffs, we would always add a data bundle and the 16GB version should be an absolute minimum requirement.

Business uses:
The same as any Smart Phone - the ability to conduct business whist on the move. Emails, calls, documents and video can all be created and transferred between phone and office. The iPhone can become your PC, or you can operate the two in tandem. 

The iPad has created a consumer boom in 'tablets' - devices which are handheld, and which basically give you the functionality of a PC in a handy, wireless, portable device.  Businesses are using the iPad extensively in sales and marketing disciplines and the iPad Mini's are increasingly being operated in businesses.

Apple iPads are similar to the iPhone - they become upgraded every 8-12 months.  The current market leader is the iPad Pro, a slimmed down, lightweight version.  Business users are always advised to consider whether WIFI or a data subscription is required for each device, and also to consider the memory size.  16GB minimum is recommended for business use.

Business uses:
All tablets allow you the same functionality of a PC.  Apple have their own operating system which means that if you prefer how Apple do things, you have to stay with Apple.  The alternative is Android - an operating system which has been developed by Google and is in widespread use by all the other major handset and tablet manufacturers. 

How does the iPhone and iPad compare with the business alternatives?

With new Smart Phones and tablets being launched daily, there are plenty of alternatives to the Apple devices.  The networks continually update their range of Smart Phones available with their tariffs, and this is where a short conversation with Eden will help you decide whether an all-Apple approach or a mixed solution is best.

Our experience shows that Apple users are very unlikely to change from their iPhone - and will always seek the next upgrade.  However, because of the high cost of Apple products which are maintained through the business tariffs, there are considerable cost savings to going with an Android based alternative.

We would also ask customers to consider the other downsides to Apple products - some of which require charging on a very frequent basis.  Some Smart Phones can now last up to two weeks on a single charge, whereas the iPhone can require attention every 24-36 hours.  Updating your Apple product's operating system can also cause consternation, when the entire world is also trying to do the same!

Be aware that the savings are always in the up-front cost of the devices, not the call tariffs - which are not effected.

Apple products are still leading the way - but the competition is catching up - and iPhones are not necessarily right for every business user.  We tend to adopt a user by user approach - analysing whether each member of staff needs such an expensive item in their day to day role - something we can conduct on behalf of our clients.

What are the cost implications?

When considering whether to go for iPhone and iPad, expect to pay more for your devices than you do for virtually any other manufacturer.  Whereas on many mobile contracts the network will try to entice customers in with cheap deals on the technology, when it comes to Apple they have very little room to provide discounts.

However, on many business contracts which includes multiple phones, there is often a trade off on the call revenue over time against the cost of the devices.  With the average cost of a new iPhone or iPad running at about £400 to £500, expect to pay up to least 75% of this, even if you are signing up for a 24 month contract.

You also need to consider replacement or insurance costs.  Most business tariffs will not include a replacement for a damaged or lost phone. With iPhones costing up to twice as much as the Android alternative, the cost of replacing lost or damaged phones should be taken into consideration when going for an all-Apple approach to your devices.

The average business needs to replace 20% of its mobile fleet over the course of a year.  In the case of Apple devices, this can add significant pressure to your communications budget if it isn't already built in.        

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