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Apple Partners Say iPhone 2.0 Is Ready For Business

When Apple launched its first software developers kit last week for the iPhone, it changed the way businesses will view the company and its products, according to some VARs.

Now please let them sell the darned things.

When Apple launched its first software developers kit last week for the iPhone, along with iPhone 2.0 software that will address concerns the phone was just a pretty piece of metal by making it compatible with business-ubiquitous Microsoft Exchange, it changed the way businesses will view the company and its products, according to some VARs.

"The iPhone is going to do what the iPod did for iTunes. People are going to see how slick and easy it is [to use the] iPhone. It's a beautiful device. The interface is unbelievable. The connectivity is great. Once people start using this they're going to ask if the Mac does this too. If it does, I'll give it a shot," said Luigi Giovanetti, owner of CPU Sales and Service, in Waltham, Mass.

"I have some people here who are Windows diehards who think the Mac is an ugly thing, but now that it's going to work with Exchange Server, they're excited about it," he said.

Customers who heard about last week's announcements on Exchange compatibility and the SDK have been coming to Giovanetti asking questions about the iPhone now that it's become a more viable platform in the eyes of smart phone and BlackBerry users even if it isn't available until June.

"We do have a lot of clients that are calling about the iPhone," he said. "It looks like its going to be a big hit."

Unfortunately for Giovanetti and the rest of the solution provider community, Apple still keeps its iPhone sales to itself and its carrier partner AT&T Wireless. Developers, however, will now get a piece of the pie by selling applications through Apple. The company will take a 30 percent cut of application fees charged through the App Store, but will not charge developers fees to distribute and sell their programs.

Some developers have complained in Web forums that Apple's closed-market forum for iPhone application distribution hinders creativity and gives the company a say in what software does make it onto iPhones, but Giovanetti said that's so far been how the iPhone has been brought to market -- with exclusive contracts and as much control as Apple can manage to wield.

However, that's not going to diminish its appeal to the market.

"This is going to revolutionize the way you think and work. It's great. I can't wait for the other apps that are going to come out and propel this thing even more into the future. The possibilities are endless," Giovanetti said. "Like it or not, the people that work in the Windows world are going to have to learn, use and implement this product. "

Bringing along the iPhone may bring along the Macs, but Apple's growing business popularity is also just another sign of the times for Charlie Thomas, director of corporate sales for New York-based Tekserve. "We most definitely saw the iPod having what Apple has defined as the 'halo effect,' and its definitely getting people to look at the Macintosh as a viable technology," Thomas said.

"But I think that you basically have a generation of people out there, the 20-somethings, that are wide-open to any sort of ideas that will make their life easier and more portable. They're the market that I think Apple is going directly after quite intelligently."

For Brattleboro, Vt.-based reseller Brown Computer Solutions, the iPhone hype is of little consequence as it won't bring the company any business, even if the product has its appeal.

"I am somewhat excited about the iPhone SDK and software update, however Apple does not allow its reseller channel to sell the iPod so it will have no direct effect on my business," said Patrick Brown, president.

"I also happen to live in the only state that does not have AT&T service at all, so I can't have an iPhone for myself. Two things would make me very happy. First, AT&T needs to come to Vermont, and second Apple needs to let their reseller channel sell the iPhone," he said.

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