iPhone Gets a new Outlook on life...
Back in April of 2006, I said this:
Not only have studies predicted the potential sale of an additional one million machines (22% increase in sales, 80% increase in market share) [if Apple could run Windows natively], but these studies don't even address the corporate market. If the architecture on these machines is pure (i.e,. the Windows environment is an exact duplicate of what you'd find on a Dell or Compaq machine), I believe Apple can expect to quickly capture some portion of the much larger, and more sustainable, corporate PC market.
And now, almost a year later, we have this:
Apple on Thursday unveiled a list of upcoming features, including support for Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, that Apple hopes will convince corporations to adopt the iPhone as the device of choice for mobile workers.
During a news conference at the computer maker's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs promised that the iPhone in its upcoming software update in June would contain "the long list of important features that enterprise customers have told us they need to really drive iPhone use."
The list included the ability to push e-mail and calendar items from servers to the iPhone, synchronize contact lists, and enforce security policies. In addition, the iPhone would support Cisco's client for secure connections to an IP-base virtual private network, and would have technology that a company could use to remotely wipe out data on a lost or stolen iPhone.
One of the most requested corporate features is support for Exchange, Jobs said. To meet the demand, Apple licensed Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol for connecting the iPhone's e-mail client directly to an Exchange server. As a result, e-mail, calendaring and contact items can pushed directly to the smartphone, a feature that Apple demonstrated at the event.
This is huge. Not only has Apple finally thrown its hat into the ring with Dell, HP, and others for the corporate desktop, they've now entered into the much faster growing, much more dynamic corporate handheld market. Who's going to buy a Blackberry when they could have an iPhone that does all the same things and more?
The article also says that Apple is releasing a SDK for enterprises to build their own iPhone applications. This allows companies to brand their own access, implement their own additional security features, etc., essentially removing many of the possible excuses for not buying the product. And since a WindowsMobile device has yet to take hold in this space, the issue of "standard software architecture" has not yet been achieved on handhelds, forcing corporate IT departments to support heterogeneous environments (i.e., RIMM running on their Exchange servers).
The only downside is price. iPhones are much more expensive than Blackberry's right now, but as the volume increases dramatically, the cost will decrease. And when people start getting them at work, the cost/features of the backend network & data plan will become less of an issue. Witness how many people have Blackberries that they pay for themselves. Almost no one. QED.
It's refreshing to see Apple play the game in front of them, rather than constantly insisting that the game is unfair, or that the rules ought to change. I think this is going to be huge...
posted by Brian at 4:19 PM