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Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’


Latest Popular Smartphones Significantly Dip in Drop Test Performance

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

After years of improving smartphone glass durability, a shift design is bringing back the perils of dropping the device only to discover the glass has cracked on impact. The newly released iPhone 8 and iPhone X aren’t doing well in drop tests, with screens breaking relatively easily. A “drop test” measures the durability of a device by dropping it on a hard surface and gauging the damage.

However, this isn’t a sign that Apple has made a design flaw, but rather a reflection of industry design trends taking away protection where material durability improvements can’t compensate. The full-front-screen-equipped Samsung Galaxy S8 performed abysmally in drop tests as well.

On Smartphone Productivity

Cutting-edge smartphones are a great way to increase productivity in the workplace as the faster performance and new features lend themselves to better problem-solving. However, implementing a device that is prone to breaking means employees will hesitate to use it over damage fears or won’t use it at all because it’s broken.

Why is this Happening?

Two design trends can take the blame for screen cracking:

  1. Newer phones are using glass on the rear of the device in addition to the front to enable wireless charging. This doubles the amount of glass on the device.
  2. The “bezel wars,” or the push to shrink borders and increase screen size, are eliminating the amount of material on the device itself that can absorb impact damage.

While modern smartphones are using increasingly durable glass, the increase in total glass used and lack of side protection make the devices vulnerable to fall damage. However, the more durable glass is doing very well in scratch and bend tests.

The Dollars and “Sense” of Repairs

The good news is the glass is a repairable component; the bad news is the repairs can quickly approach device replacement costs. There are three options for a repair; which one to go with varies on experience and severity of the damage:

  1. Manufacturer Repair or RMA
  2. Independent Repair Shop
  3. DIY

The cost and complexity of a front vs. rear glass repair can vary greatly depending on the phone. For example, replacing the rear glass on the Galaxy S7 will run a person about $70 professionally or can be done for around $20 in 45 minutes by a modestly skilled DIYer. Comparatively, a Galaxy S7 front screen and glass repair runs about $190 from an independent shop. The iPhone X is different, with Apple charging $279 for a front display replacement and $549 for a rear glass replacement. The front screen replacement costs are in line with each other, while the rear glass replacement costs are dramatically different.

How can I Protect my Investment?

Fortunately, your business can take a few safeguards to avoid having to replace the device:

  1. Get a protective case and require its use
  2. Get an extended warranty or device care package

Is your business using the right technology for the job and the right accessories to get the most out of those devices? The IT Consulting experts at MPA can help your business increase productivity by getting the most out of tech. Contact us today!

iPhone “Backdoor”? It Already Exists! Why Your Company Needs It

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

iphone-926235_640February’s big story in the tech world was the conflict between Apple and the FBI over the creation of a “backdoor” to retrieve encrypted data on iPhones. The government is looking for any clue as to what—or, more specifically, who—motivated Syed Farook, along with his wife, to gun down his San Bernardino co-workers at an office party. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with other high-profile tech leaders, warn that the existence of such an “anti-encryption key” could become a slippery slope—ultimately threatening individual privacy as well as the security of all virtually-protected data, personal or business.

Apple steadfastly refuses to comply with the FBI’s court order, and the battle is likely to reach the Supreme Court. And if the Court’s pivotal ninth seat remains unfilled due to political gridlock, the whole issue could remain undecided for quite awhile.

Finding the Facts

In the midst of this landmark security vs. privacy brouhaha, one key fact of the case is being underreported: The iPhone 5c the FBI wants to unlock was Farook’s business phone, issued to him by the San Bernardino County Health Department. He destroyed his personal phone—which he most likely used to actually discuss the terror plot—before the couple’s fatal shootout with police.

How could this highly-vocal Apple-FBI standoff have been averted in the first place? By using an encryption backdoor that already exists—completely legal, and, for businesses, absolutely necessary: mobile device management (MDM) software.

MDM allows users to enjoy the same mobile productivity—apps, email, documents, file-sharing—that they’d expect from an onsite network, while enabling IT administrators to ensure every device remains compliant with company security standards (configuration settings, updated security patches, and limiting unauthorized use of the device).

More importantly in this case, MDM can, if necessary, bypass a security passcode to regain access to the company-issued device. Ironically, San Bernardino County had already contracted with an MDM vendor, but simply hadn’t gotten around to installing the software on mobile equipment in Farook’s department, due mainly to the lack of a formal MDM implementation policy.

Your MDM Solution? Choose Wisely

As mobile computing and BYOD become increasingly common in the modern workplace, MDM is essential for every company. You’ll find products from a slew of vendors, large and small, at competitive prices, but here are some key points to look for:

  • Ease-of-use (look for free trials of MDM products)
  • Full compatibility with both iOS and Android platforms
  • Functionality across multiple devices and wireless carriers
  • Seamless integration of all company-used apps (email, data, SaaS)
  • Pricing structure (per device or flat rate)

Choosing the right MDM solution—and effectively implementing it across your organization—is another IT challenge facing your company today. We can help.

The Death (and Second Life) of a Replaced Business Smartphone

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

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When it’s time to upgrade employee smartphones, your business needs to worry about backing up data, clearing the memory, and figuring out the best way to get rid of the old devices. According to Business Insider, the average smartphone upgrade cycle reached 22 months in 2012. This time frame could continue to increase as carriers drop subsidized plans.

With such a brief window of use, it’s likely your business will end up with a stockpile of functional but unused devices.

Those old phones may still have some life in them—and you may want to consider repurposing them instead of dumping them in an electronics recycling bin.

Backing It Up and Clearing Your Data

Regardless of what’s going to happen to the smartphone, your first task is wiping the data off of it. This usually means backing up all the information on the device and performing a factory reset to erase any confidential information. Android phones can back up data a few ways: via Google’s Cloud, backup applications, and connecting to a computer to manually copy data. iPhones, on the other hand, can rely on the iCloud backup process.

Once you’re backed up, remove any SIM and microSD cards the phone supports, and then run a factory reset to clear any and all data. CNET recommends connecting the wiped phone to a dummy account and wiping the device a second time to further protect your information.

Repurposing Old Smartphones

Your business can extract some extra value by giving old devices a second life. Keeping an older device or two around the office in a shared area as a social media access point is a great way to provide content for your company’s social media accounts. If your company is doing something newsworthy that your audience would be interested, snap a photo of it on the phone and post it to Facebook and Twitter. Employees can also use the device to respond to questions posed on those social media accounts.

Smartphones can break fairly easily. A new device can easily run $400 to $700, while replacement plans on devices can get pretty expensive. Be your own device replacement insurance policy, and consider keeping a few of the two-year-old phones around to replace lost or damaged devices to hold employees over until the smartphone can be properly replaced. While using a two-year-old phone lacks the “new and shiny” feeling, it’s more manageable than a shattered screen. The software and hardware on the slightly older device may not be cutting-edge, but it’s probably far from obsolete.

Alternatively, there’s a second-hand market for smartphones to replace broken devices and avoid paying a premium on new devices.

With a little effort, a smaller business can resell the unused devices on sites like eBay to recoup some of the value to put towards replacements. If your business doesn’t want to repurpose the phone internally, Mashable recommends donating the device to the troops, domestic violence victims, or another charity like the One Fund for Boston Marathon tragedy victims.

Questions? Get in touch with your local MSP.

Apple TV for Presentations in the Workplace

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Apple TV for best conference presentations, San Francisco, San Mateo, San Jose.

Apple TV, typically used as a video content streaming device for Netflix, YouTube, and iTunes, is fairly common in homes across the U.S. However, this crafty little device that can fit in your palm also has some impressive applications in an office setting through its AirPlay screen mirroring features. With an Apple TV, you can display whatever you want from an iPhone/iPad to a conference room TV—and it only takes a few seconds to set up. This device is a great way to increase productivity by practically eliminating downtime related to presentation hardware configuration.

Unwired Presentations and Easy Configuration

Dragging a computer to the conference room every time you plan to show a PowerPoint presentation isn’t practical. Yes, you can connect your laptop to a DisplayPort, HDMI, or DVI connection, but laptops aren’t always conveniently portable and the cables may be a nuisance. Installing a desktop computer in the conference room specifically for presentations can also be a burden when it proves uncooperative in transferring presentation files between systems or encounters compatibility problems. If it’s a dedicated laptop, it might rarely be used, becoming an unproductive resource.

Screen mirroring the content from an iPad or an iPhone via AirPlay to a wall-mounted flat panel display or TV offers the same presentation output with software such as PowerPoint and the rest of Microsoft Office without the configuration headache associated with a traditional computer setup.

In some meetings, you may not plan initially to use the conference room TV—but what if something comes up and you want to share, for example, a YouTube video? With AirPlay, you can simply access the video on your iPhone and share it on the big screen.

Without a wired connection linking the presentation device to the screen, you (and other presenters) are free to walk around the room with the presentation device at hand. As an added bonus, MacBook users can use AirPlay on Apple TV to share their screen without connecting cables. Apple TV is also great for guest presenters that may forgo a laptop for presentations because tablets are easier to carry.

Sharing Control

With Apple TV, you can move from device to device on the fly. For example, if someone in the room has taken a video with their iPhone camera that happens to be relevant to the presentation, they can take control of AirPlay and show the video without having to transfer files between devices or reconfigure presentation hardware. This advantage can turn a five-minute time waster into a five-second transition. This kind of versatility may be a great productivity booster for open-ended meetings.

Wide Support

Apple TV is compatible with almost every High Definition TV (HDTV) because it uses the HDMI connection standard. Computers feature a range of video output types and often require dongles and adapters to modify the connection to screen share. If you want, you can even conceal the Apple TV by mounting it behind the TV or in another room.

PC and Android Alternatives

PC laptop, Android phone, and tablet users aren’t left out in the cold here thanks to screen-mirroring devices like Chromecast, which also uses an HDMI connection to interface with a TV set. Most HDTVs feature multiple HDMI connection ports, so it’s possible to accommodate both camps at once. For more information on how Apple TV or Chromecast can boost your productivity, get in touch with MPA Networks at www.mpa.com.