Hey Siri, How Will Apple's Big Announcements Affect Government?

Read on to see what Apple Watch OS 2, Apple TV, the iPad Pro, the latest iPhones and the end of device ownership mean for the public sector.

by / September 9, 2015
Apple

On Sept. 9, Apple kicked off its signature fall product release event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The theme of this year’s event focused on Siri, and the world anticipated a lineup of new products and software updates built around the notable Apple personal assistant.

Apple did not disappoint -- here are the top 5 things the company announced and their potential impact on the public sector.

1.    Apple Watch OS 2

Apple announced the first major software update to the Apple Watch. Called OS 2, this update brings native application support to the Apple Watch for the first time, meaning that applications can run on an Apple Watch without being tethered to an iPhone. This update also allows developers to access the watch's hardware for the first time, including health sensors, for the next-generation watch applications.

To date, more than 10,000 Apple Watch applications have been developed, and these improvements will undoubtedly increase the attractiveness of the Apple Watch platform for third-party developers.

What this means for the public sector: Expect to see more public safety and field worker Apple Watch applications that leverage the sensors in the watch (and those connected nearby) to provide a new form of situational awareness on the wrist. 

The OS 2 update will be available Sept. 16 for free to all Apple Watch users.

2. Apple TV

Apple announced a long overdue update to the Apple TV hardware, which is now bundled with Siri and a new operating system called tvOS. This new OS allows developers to build applications for your home living room experience. Interestingly enough, the Apple TV apps are not just for entertainment, as Apple partners today demonstrated new retail applications that will launch with the new hardware. 

What this means for the public sector: Expect to see state and local government agencies that offer mobile apps begin to optimize these experiences for the Apple TV. This new platform will also provide an opportunity for new forms of citizen engagement: Imagine watching a city council meeting and providing real-time feedback or asking questions on agenda items that your council members can consider prior to a vote.

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The new Apple TV will cost $149 for 32 GB and $199 for 64 GB, and will ship in late October.

3. iPad Pro

Before today’s event, one of the most speculated product announcements was the debut of a larger iPad. Apple validated this rumor today by officially announcing the iPad Pro, which stretches the iPad’s traditional screen size to an astonishing 12.9 inches. 

The iPad Pro is powered a 64-bit A9X chipset, which is roughly 22 times more powerful than the original iPad released just five years ago. The one disappointment is that the iPad Pro opted to use the mobile-optimized iOS 9 over the Apple desktop operating system, OS X. Even so, Apple is making a strong enterprise play with this tablet through new accessories designed specifically for it -- a smart keyboard and external stylus dubbed the Apple Pencil.

Over the past few months, Apple has also built strategic partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco and IBM to further strengthen the enterprise applicability of their tablets.

What this means for the public sector: Expect employees to begin requesting iPad Pros (in addition to Surface Pros) as the demand continues to grow for enterprise tablets that offer greater mobility for employees.

The iPad Pro will cost $799 for 32 GB, $949 for 128 GB and $1079 for 128 GB with LTE. The Apple Pencil will cost $99 and Smart Keyboard will retail for $169. Available in November.

4. Apple iPhone 6S/6S Plus

As with every fall event, Apple took the opportunity to refresh its iPhone lineup by announcing the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. On the outside, both phones are the same form factor as the previous generation (6/6 Plus); however, Apple did bundle some new improvements under the hood. Notable improvements include an upgraded core processor (64-bit A9), 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and the addition of 3D Touch, which enables different functionality based on the pressure of your touch.

Apple’s new processor also allows for Siri to remain in an active, always-on listening state so that you can ask questions by simply saying, "Hey Siri," without the need of any physical input.

What this means for the public sector:  Expect new input behaviors to form through technology advances such as 3D Touch and even Siri’s always-on listening state. These new behaviors also can be used to streamline information access in all applications and services that embrace them.

Apple+iPhone+6S%2F6S+Plus

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will start at $199 for the 6S and $299 for 6S Plus. Preorder begins Sept. 12; available Sept. 25.

5. The End of Device Ownership

One of the most interesting announcements Apple made was a new iPhone upgrade program that essentially allows anyone to lease an iPhone (including AppleCare+ support) starting at $32.41 per month and upgrade to a newer device every 12-months.

This may sound familiar because most carriers have begun to abandon lengthy contracts and offer new monthly plans for hardware as well. The major difference with Apple facilitating this process is that the company is eliminating the middleman and providing unlocked phones that can be used across any network -- which is highly disruptive. We have seen some interesting shifts in technology’s role in changing ownership of large capital items, such as vehicles and housing, but now it appears the movement is getting personal.

What this means for the public sector: Expect the adoption of new devices and platforms to exponentially increase by employees and constituents as the existing contract and purchase cycles that delayed and sometimes restricted new technology adoption are becoming a thing of the past.

Dustin Haisler Chief Innovation Officer, e.Republic Inc.

Dustin Haisler is the Chief Innovation Officer of Government Technology's parent company e.Republic. Previously the finance director and later CIO for Manor, Texas, a small city outside Austin, Haisler quickly built a track record and reputation as an early innovator in civic tech. As Chief Innovation Officer, Haisler has a strategic role to help shape the company’s products, services and future direction. Primarily, he leads e.Republic Labs, a market connector created as an ecosystem to educate, accelerate and ultimately scale technology innovation within the public sector. Read his full bio.

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