Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can the iPhone/iTouch platform be a next generation enterprise communication platform?

Now that Apple has released the iPhone SDK will there be a rush to adoption by business? Apple is trying very hard not to repeat the past mistakes of creating a closed Mac platform. The addition of a $100M VC fund for application development will certainly help. But is it enough?

According to the announcement this week, Apple will still control the conduit. All applications must be downloaded via iTunes. No software will be permitted to allow the iPhone to work with phone carriers that are not approved by Apple. In the US, we have one phone carrier to choose from … AT&T.

It seems to me that Apple has taken a first step, but a baby step.  If Apple is serious about adoption of the iPhone as a ubiquitous handheld business communication device I believe much more needs to be done. Here are a few suggestions.

First and foremost Apple needs to open the connectivity choices to any wireless carrier. Address security issues such as data encryption and secure access. The iPhone software needs to allow managed updates via company IT department. And finally very tight, seamless integration with Enterprise systems such as Exchange is required.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, in my opinion it would propel the iPhone to becoming the device of choice for the Enterprise.

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