Note regarding compatibility: iOS 4 is intended to work with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and the new iPhone 4. Not all features will be compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking is available only with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.
With the announcement of the new iPhone 4, Apple also announced it will be releasing a major upgrade to it's iPhone Operating System software, iOS4. They are even changing the name to iOS, signaling this is a major upgrade, not a just a minor update. I got to thinking about the possible workflow changes and improvements this can mean for real estate agents, as well as for the companies that develop software that agents use. After all, Apple is saying, “This changes everything. Again.” Even though the iOS4.0 will be a significant upgrade it will be free. So I imagine that most people who can, will eventually install the upgrade. So here are my initial thoughts of how this may make a difference for those agents who make the iPhone one of their tools in the field:
This is a huge improvement that people have been asking to get for a long time. Imagine talking to a client about a property while looking on your favorite real estate IDX app and then sending them pictures while talking to them in real time. You can be referencing statistics and info instead of the old “I'll look up that information and call you back.” that we have been doing.
Okay, if you're a geek like me and have tons of apps, this can really help you organize stuff. Now I am constantly flipping through pages trying to find an app. Often I have just given up and gone to the Searchlight to find it. I have been trying to organize pages by categories for a long time, but whenever you move an icon everything shuffles around making your organizational efforts a waste of time. Specific to real estate, I can imagine “Listing URLs” (domains or pages dedicated to one listing) saved to your home screen and organized into folders to share or access quickly. No more having to save as a bookmark, which takes several clicks to access if you can remember where it is.
This sounds like a GREAT sales tool agents can use for prospective clients. Upon finding out that a prospect has an iPhone, you can offer to send them a localized app with IDX searching and other premium features that normally has a charge to download. If the app costs 99 cents in the App Store, it's a very affordable promotional gift to try and create some good will and loyalty.
Faces and Places in Photos
The camera on existing iPhones can already capture GPS location data on the pictures it takes. But there hasn't been a way to view where photos were taken on the phone itself. The new iOS 4 there's will support viewing a map of geotagged photos within the Photos app on the iPhone and iPod touch. This will make searching for pictures and videos of listings and properties a lot easier. Currently most people spend a lot of time flipping through the camera roll to find pictures or videos, even though they know geographically where the photo was taken. If this gets integrated into personal Google Maps I can think of lots of uses.
FINALLY spell checking in Mail, notes and even other apps! Yippie! 'nuff said.
5.0 Megapixal Camera
I put this last because it's a new iPhone 4 gen specific feature, NOT just a iOS 4 feature. But I think this potentially can be the biggest improvement for real estate purposes and may even justify the cost of the hardware upgrade. For those who carry a camera and an iPhone around (like me), you can now carry JUST have an iPhone, because the quality will equal or rival most digital cameras you might carry around. Also, if you use JotNot (iTunes Link) for document scanning and some kind of faxing software send and receive documents, this, along with the Retina Display, will substantially improve the quality of scanned, faxed, and delivered real estate documents.
Lots of goodies here and more to come as developers jump in and get creative. The past three years that the iPhone has been out has shown that lots of great stuff will most certainly follow a major upgrade like this.
For those interested in taking my Washington State certified Clockhours “iPhone Apps for Real Estate” class, please check for upcoming classes at the Facebook Business Page Real Estate iPhone Apps Class