Will The New Apple 3G iPhone Win Over The Corporate World?


The iPhone 3G includes new iPhone 2.0 software with both the iPhone SDK and key enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which offers over-the-air push e-mail, contact and calendar syncing as well as remote wipe and Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to corporate networks.

Jobs also told the crowd that improved network speed will gives users faster access to the Internet and e-mail, with quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA for voice and data connectivity. The iPhone 3G supports Wi-Fi, 3G and EDGE networks and automatically switches between them for the "fastest possible download speeds," to browse the Web, get map directions or check your e-mail while on a call at the same time.

The current iPhone uses AT&T's EDGE Network in the U.S., which has been roundly criticized for its slow speed. But now the new phone is positively "zippy," said Jobs and, "3G speeds are actually approaching Wi-Fi .

"Twice the speed at half the price," he said. "Same phone, same location, the 3G is 2.8 times faster."

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In addition, the iPhone 3G includes the new App Store, providing iPhone users with native applications in various areas, such as games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

"We started a developer program on March 6, and over a quarter million people have downloaded the SDK," said Jobs. "Over 25,000 people have applied to the paid developer program. Unfortunately we couldn't take everyone, but 4,000 people got in."

The App Store on iPhone works over cellular networks and Wi-Fi, and users can purchase and download applications wirelessly and start using them instantly.

That's great for the consumer side, but what about the guy in the corner office?

"We got feedback that enterprises want to distribute apps themselves just for their phones, so we're adding a way for enterprises to distribute apps," said Jobs. For instance, a business can authorize a set of iPhones in their enterprise then create apps that only run on those phones, and can distribute them on their own Intranet any way they want

However, one big issue that wasn't discussed much was security, arguably more important on an enterprise scale than on the consumer side.

"Security is a barrier for Apple," said Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney, vice president of mobile computing research. "For an enterprise to be secure a platform usually has third-party audits, finds the holes and patches them. Apple hasn't exposed any information for third parties to come in and do their job."

As far as appealing to the enterprise, Apple needs to be more focused on e-mail capabilities rather than apps, said Dulaney.

"The No.1 appeal for companies in smart phone is e-mail -- it dominates the field," he said. "Apps come in much further down the road."

As of now, the iPhone 3G remains solidly in the consumer sector. With so few offerings for business, and comparatively rich features from Nokia and RIM, the maker of Blackberrys, the enterprise smartphone market isn't likely to change anytime soon.

A June 6, 2008 Gartner report about global smartphone sales broke down the numbers

"Nokia dominated the segment in the first quarter, with 14.6 million units sold, which translates into a 45.2 percent market share. RIM was second with 4.3 million units (13.4 percent), followed by Apple with 1.7 million (5.3 percent). Compared to first quarter 2007, Nokia was able to grow its unit sales by 25.3 percent and RIM by 107.3 percent," according to the report.

"I think there needs to be a basic commitment to the enterprise," said Gartner's Dulaney. "If you're going into the enterprise, it takes hard work."