It’s that time of the year again. Another iPhone release is now upon us. As a consumer, the decision to upgrade can be stressful. Are there enough compelling features on the new 15? Is your iPhone 13 running a little slower, dying a little faster, maybe a little banged up? Replacing a perfectly fine iPhone can be a tough decision as a consumer. What about replacing iPhones as an enterprise? If you run or support a corporate mobility program the impact on upgrading not just one iPhone, but multiple devices can be even more challenging. In this blog we’ll walk through key tips and considerations when managing a large company iPhone update.
Your executives want the latest iPhone. Maybe it’s time to update the field team or sale organization’s devices. Or maybe you’ve negotiated a new agreement with your preferred wireless carrier to upgrade the iPhone every few years. This year’s upgrade cycle will look a little like last year, but it is always a good idea to revisit best practices and prepare the company’s end-user base, IT department and related partners. To be clear, it’s not that every multi-device upgrade cycle is the same for every company, but most share similar challenges. Here are some key tips and areas to consider when managing a large iPhone upgrade process.
Most customers follow a New/-1 methodology. This means the older iPhone 14 will become the new standard this Fall. As an example, an enterprise may work with their carrier to procure the iPhone 15 for Executives now, and then add the iPhone 14 to their device catalog (with a significantly reduced price) for all other employees. This minimizes expenses when pushing a company iPhone update and keeps the portfolio current and end-users happy.
Communicating the upgrade and timeline to your employee base is key. Part of that communication should include the MDM and engineering team. As the people testing new models and the new iOS version with existing payloads, compliance, applications, etc. to ensure that functionality remains stable across the corporate mobile environment, they need to be aware early. However, even with extensive testing, there are going to be bugs that don’t appear until the masses start using it. You can look at the recent iOS 16 and 17 releases as examples: both had zero-day security flaws that required additional version updates after the initial update.
Piggybacking on the above iOS statement, these software upgrades take time out of the end-user’s day. If there are complications, they may require assistance from the support team. While these calls aren’t entirely unavoidable, you can minimize the amount and length by ensuring proper knowledge articles are available internally and externally, and whenever possible, pushing these out proactively to any user who might be affected soon.
Remember the trade value into the secondary market for used iPhones is a big business and a great way to offset new device acquisition costs. The annual depreciation for iPhones between 1-4 years from release is ~ 15%. After four years the buyback value loss is greater than 50%, all based on condition. Maintaining a good return rate and process from your employee base is important. It’s a fine line for companies to apply direct pressure on their employee base to return these old devices. There are multiple third-party providers in the market that can assist with this process.
Hopefully you are already utilizing these best practices or maybe this clarifies a few things for you and your company. Today, many companies work with third-party MMS and TEM companies to lead or support these initiatives. Others may manage in-house. Either way, focusing on the end-user employee while ensuring cost-effective and secure solutions will make this year’s company iPhone update a success. Looking to improve your process? Find out how we can help.