How the iPhone 5 can benefit your business

Can Apple's smartest phone boost your bottom line?

How the iPhone 5 can benefit your business

As with the previous iPhone, the 4S, the iPhone 5 boasts a wealth of business features and functions including; PC-free activation and updating; notifications of incoming emails and messages on the lock screen; encrypted email; secure private networking; location-based reminders; Microsoft Exchange and IMAP email, calendar and contact information; mobile device management to monitor, lock or even wipe managed iPhones; wireless app distribution for businesses who want to create and distribute their own internal apps; and an App Store full of business-friendly software covering everything from time management to secure networking.

So what else does the iPhone 5 offer your business?

The email client supports multiple accounts  and the new VIP inbox prioritises important messages

VIP inboxes and improved email

If you'd rather filter emails to prioritise the most important ones, you'll like the new iPhone's email: it enables you to mark contacts as VIPs, and there's a new VIP inbox that only shows messages from those people.

You can also set alerts for just VIP emails, so for example when you look at the lock screen you can see instantly whether you have any new VIP email without being alerted about less important messages.

Mail also enables you to flag messages for later action, and the improved photo and video handling makes sending pictures and clips much simpler: instead of sending each attachment in a separate message, you can add multiple items to a single email.

It's a little change but a big time saver, as is the new, larger screen, which enables you to see more of your inbox and to spend less time scrolling when you're reading messages or email attachments.

The customisable notification area can preview emails  show appointments or just predict the weather

Improved calls, messages and videoconferencing

Apple has improved the iPhone's telephone hardware and software: there's an improved multi-microphone system for clearer in-call audio, a Do Not Disturb setting that enables you to disable ringtones and alerts either at specific times of the day or on an ad-hoc basis, and a new Reply With Message option that enables you to reject a call and send the caller a quick message or set a reminder to call them back.

iMessage, Apple's alternative to SMS texting, is improved too: it now unifies Apple IDs and phone numbers, enabling you to send and receive iMessages across multiple devices - iPhone, iPad, Mac - and that unification also comes to FaceTime, Apple's video calling system.

That means if somebody sends an iMessage or tries to make a video call to your iPhone, you can receive the message or answer the call on your iPad or Mac.

In addition to improved noise cancelling, FaceTime also benefits from another new feature: it's no longer limited to Wi-Fi wireless networking connections. Now, you can make video calls over the 3G mobile phone network, and the newer, faster 4G one too.

4G mobile broadband, and roaming abroad

The iPhone 5 is the first iPhone to support 4G LTE, the latest mobile broadband technology. 4G has been designed specifically for mobile data and should deliver real-world speeds four times faster than current 3G networks, which should mean more reliable video calls, faster downloads and a much better mobile browsing experience.

4G doesn't just mean faster browsing on the phone, though. It means faster connections to other devices too. The iPhone supports tethering, which means it can create a Wi-Fi hotspot that your other devices - laptops, tablets and so on - can connect to, and in 4G areas that should mean those devices benefit from 4G's faster download speeds.

That's the good news. The bad news is that 4G is only just starting to appear in the UK, it's currently only available from one provider – EE the new name for Everything Everywhere, which in turn was the new name for Orange/T-Mobile - and when other networks offer 4G in 2013, the current iPhone 5 may not be able to connect to them. You may also find that when you travel internationally, the 4G iPhone 5 might not be compatible with the local 4G mobile phone networks.