While Apple is not producing a major update to its smartphones this year, enterprises must still prepare for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus as many employees continue to prefer Apple’s latest and greatest smartphones. Apple began accepting pre-orders on September 12, and its official release date is Friday, September 25 in 12 countries including the US. The new phone features a faster processor, a new 3D Touch screen, and a 12MP camera. The new 6s and 6s Plus will be more sturdy with a less pliable aluminum back and a stronger screen.
All employees want to know when they can get a new phone. However, many enterprises prefer to have employees check a portal for this information, rather than send out an inquiry notice. This subtle change in how employees determine when they are eligible for a new smartphone can help delay the upgrade cycle.
Costs to manage new upgrades as well as how to pay for them are critical factors for enterprise mobility programs. T-Mobile’s “Jump On Demand” 18-month program and Sprint’s “iPhone Forever” 22-month plan are less costly compared to AT&T and Verizon’s offerings, but tradeoffs with their network coverage are important to employees.
Enterprises should also evaluate Apple’s “iPhone Upgrade Program” As it may provide a good option for executives that get new smartphones every 12 months. For $32.41 a month, or $36.58 for the 6s Plus, subscribers can get a new unlocked iPhone every year for no additional cost with a trade-in of the old iPhone. The program also provides AppleCare+ protection. It equates to spending $389 and $439 on the iPhone Plus over 12 months. While this is costly for the basic models with limited memory, it this may be less expensive than the costs enterprises currently incur for an annual upgrade.
A recent report by Recon found that on average, the handset replacement cycle is 26.5 months. However, most enterprises replace their employees’ devices more frequently. There is a tradeoff between the productivity gains from new smartphone features, and the costs for hardware and deployments with software and kitting.
Last year’s larger screen sizes were compelling, but managers need to break from a cycle of refreshing employees’ smartphones every 12 or 18 months. Enterprises should create programs with incentives that get employees to hold on to their devices longer in order to reduce costs and shift enterprises’ upgrade cycle closer to the consumer market.