iPhone Ready to Rumble With BlackBerry

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Apple today unveiled enterprise features for its wildly popular iPhone that will be available via a software update scheduled for release in June. With extended support for Exchange (Apple has become a full ActiveSync licensee), the iPhone will be able to receive push email, calendars, contact, address lists and other features, the company said during a presentation of the iPhone Software Roadmap. Other enterprise security features include WPA2/802.11X support, Cisco IPsec VPN, identities, certificates, and remote wiping of the device.

applerimstock.jpgThis is Apple’s (AAPL) attempt to take on the BlackBerry, the popular communications device made by Research In Motion (RIMM). The news helped push RIM’s stock down nearly 4 percent, even though it will be a while before the iPhone can become a real challenger to the Canadian company’s ubiquitous device.

Also today, marketing head Phil Schiller unveiled the iPhone software development kit (SDK), which will give outside application developers the same level of access to the iPhone’s capabilities as in-house Apple developers. The new API is called Cocoa Touch; it will support multi-touch events and controls, localization, alerts, the image picker, camera, and the accelerometer. There will also be an iPhone simulator for developers to test their code within a development environment.

Just as Apple granted us access to podcasts through the iTunes store, iPhone applications will be accessible through a new program called AppStore. Also due to be included in the upcoming software update, AppStore will display application categories including games, health, finance, lifestyle, just added and top picks that can be downloaded directly onto the device. Developers will be able to independently add their applications to the AppStore and price them however they want (including free), with 30 percent of the revenue going to Apple as overhead.

And finally, as the event was wrapping up, Apple demoed the iPhone’s gaming capabilities, including introducing a working demo of AOL Instant Messenger and a Salesforce application. Electronics Arts said it will be porting its popular Spore game to the iPhone as well.

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JimF

It’s curious how your site dismisses Windows Mobile, yet seems to claim the iPhone will succeed in business because it licenses the underlying technology from WinMob for wireless email, ActiveSync. If ActiveSync was the complete solution, RIM wouldn’t be doing so well (although I don’t believe ActiveSync gets enough credit).

For its target market, the iPhone is wonderful (I might buy version 2.0 with HSDPA and an improved email client), but for an email- and security-centric enterprise, not so much.

C U 2? doesn’t cut in in the enterprise. Try this simple test: Put a RIM 88×0 and an iPhone side by side and delete 20 emails, half on the phone only and half on both the phone and the server. Then answer ten emails on both phones. Time each and count the keystrokes. By the time you’re done on the iPhone the next version will ship.

Plus, remember there are versions where RIM took out the camera, at the demand of IT departments. Having iTunes is not going to get large-scale orders of a $400 phone in Fortune X companies.

For other serious users not under the thumb of IT departments, the iPhone’s lack of voice commands is more of a drawback than push email IMHO. A $90 Razr2 has voice dialing. The iPhone’s clumsy keyboard would be less relevant if I could park it on my car’s console and dial from the headset.

One perspective.

futureenterpriseuser

@Ernest Nova: Actually, that’s not quite the case. Unlike the older Palm OS, when applications quit on the iPhone, properly developed applications should save their states so that you go back to where you were when you switched apps. This was the problem with the Palm OS. Once you switched out of an app, you lost what you were doing.

Ernest Nova

iPhone may currently only run one application at a time – switching out of an application will kill it. This is so reminiscent of the original Palm OS, and a show stopper for any serious enterprise use.

Mike

I think the more important question here is – with Apple licensing ActiveSync for iPhone, will Mail get it to? Entourage 08 is far better than its predecessor, but still doesn’t meet my exchange needs.

Mark Sigal

I agree with the comments on Blackberry keyboard. I love my iPod touch but won’t be buying an iPhone to replace my BB 7130 for the simple reason that the primary job I “hire” my BB for is really good phone and good input device for email. Apple has a way to go specific to both buckets (email/voice quality).

That said, I just posted, ‘Mobility Lives! The iPhone SDK looks awesome,’ and must say that when customers, developers (big and small) and investors (KPCB announced a $100M fund around the platform) are all singing the praises as loudly as they are on this one, it is truly a seminal moment.

As an entrepreneur, I am chomping at the bit for this!

Check out the post if interested:

http://thenetworkgarden.com/weblog/2008/03/mobility-lives.html

Mark

Farhan Memon

What Om said in response to @improveyourwriting plus the fact that they referenced RIM’s marketshare in their presentation.

Om Malik

@improveyourwriting,

you should check out the presentation Apple made and how the slides are all about Bberry. By the way Blackberry is their only competitor in the US, though you can argue Win mobile and Symbian are other options.

Jim Greer

Is it just me, or does Cocoa Touch sound like the stage name for a transvestite stripper?

I would have loved the Exchange support when I was at EA. Kongregate uses Google Apps, which already have a decent iPhone interface (though I sure wish Calendar would let you go to a specific date!)

improveyourwriting

Seriously, you really should not state something as fact especially when Apple did not state it themselves. They not once stated that they intend for the iPhone to compete with Blackberry (Were you not there during the press Q&A?). One other thing, your poll answer choices are not completely relevant (what does symbian have to do with the question?). I want to vote ‘no’ but not because of the keyboard (and I own an iPhone btw). The keyboard would not necessarily be the only reason. Your choices should be Yes, No or don’t care. Om, your “writers” once again dissapoint.

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