September 2015 | By Michael Antoniak
Since the very first iPhone was released in 2007, Apple’s smartphone has earned its place as the clear favorite among real estate professionals. In practical terms, it’s a productive hub for the many demands in the field, and it’s only gotten better every year. The iPhone can serve as a mobile office full of real estate–specific apps, a multichannel communicator, a camera and video recorder, and a window to all the data and resources in the cloud and online.
But the biggest news in Apple’s latest announcement of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus isn’t just the technological advancements. In fact, the newly unveiled smartphones are mere evolutionary upgrades from last year’s iPhone 6. This time, the “wow” factor is that Apple is no longer bundling its iPhone with a service contract as a way of making it affordable.
Now users can pay as low as $35 a month for two years to own the phone and go with any carrier they choose. No longer is it necessary to wait until a service contract expires to either upgrade to a new iPhone or switch carriers to become eligible to buy one. For practitioners, that ensures that they can always have the latest version of the most reliable and advanced mobile real estate tool.
That should be good news, considering the iPhone 6s upgrades include a better user interface that many in real estate will want, an A9 processor said to be 70 percent faster than the A8 version in the iPhone 6, an upgraded iSight camera with a 12-megapixel sensor for better-quality photos and ultra-high resolution video recording; and a 3-D touchscreen for more responsive control based on the amount of pressure applied to the screen.
New iPhone products used to be most affordable for those whose service contracts were on the verge of expiring. Upgrading before a contract’s expiration often entailed high fees, including paying the full retail price of $650 or more for a new phone. You could always buy an iPhone outright with no service contract contingent, but that was only an option for those who could justify the cost to be an early adopter of the latest technology. The change in Apple’s terms now assures practitioners the chance to use the most up-to-date iPhone products for real estate without the burden of a long-term service contract.
If you still don’t want to spend the money on the new iPhone 6s, there’s a less expensive way to upgrade your current phone. The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 9, is available to update older iPads and iPhones. Advances include enhanced security features, multitasking support so you can work in two apps simultaneously, a redesigned Notes app, mass transit information in the Maps app, a more responsive Siri personal digital assistant, and more efficient use of battery power.
Practitioners who use an iPad as their primary computer on the go will also find that the new iPad Pro offers a better experience for listing presentations and sharing home tours or maps with clients. With its larger 12.9-inch screen, it steps away from the compact portability that made the iPad and iPad Mini such practical and popular mobile tools. An accessory keyboard along with Apple’s new Pencil input device make the iPad Pro more a hybrid tablet-mobile PC, provided all the software required for mobile productivity is available as an iOS app.
The base price for the 32GB Wi-Fi version of the iPad Pro is $799, and the accessories add another $270. That prices it in the realm of entry notebooks and other hybrid tablet PCs, including Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3.
The same goes for smartphones. There are alternatives in this maturing category — especially if you’re willing to step outside the Apple universe for an Android or Windows handset.
Reprinted from realtormag.realtor.org, September 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright September 2015. All rights reserved. realtormag.realtor.org