We all know how the iPhone frenzy has grabbed popular imagination since it was first announced in Jan 2007. With its cool characterize set, slick turn up, powerful computing capabilities, beautiful characterize and intuitive touch navigation, this poster boy of the mobile generation has captured the imagination of gizmo freaks and tech phobics alike. To get some measure of iPhone’s success, one only needs refer to Tim Cook’s (Apple’s COO) recent statement at a conference – he said that the company had “really good confidence” the company would hit 10 million iPhones sold by the end of 2008.
According to a research from IDC, 70 percent of those polled who own, or plan to buy an iPhone in the next year, consider it to be for both personal and business use.
Considering the great proliferation of iPhones in such a short span, it is natural that all those who own a iPhone would want to extend its use to business in addition. And it is no joy carrying around a Blackberry and iPhone in either pocket. All that does is to cause additional downward pressure on the belt. It is no surprise then, that iPhone’s usability in a business context is a raging argue nowadays. That is nevertheless a secondary question, because the fact remains that present and future end users of iPhone see is as something they want to use for business.
The Bad News
Unfortunately for corporates, iPhone was produced mainly for the meatier consumer market, and never really meant to be a business tool.
What Obstructs “iPhone for Business”
– It’s mainly a PIM
– Third party applications not supported
– without of Exchange sustain
Mainly a PIM – iPhone mainly has PIM (personal information manager) capabilities (email, contacts, calendars, calendars, notes) and not meant to be used for team collaboration, which requires the ability to proportion and work together on information.
Sorry Third Party Developers – iPhone runs on a custom built operating system called the “iPhone OS”, and at this point does not allow third party applications to be built & installed on this native OS. Users are restricted to applications pre-built into the system (mail, SMS, calendar, photos, etc). This meant no special business centric applications could be produced to make use of iPhone’s computing & characterize capabilities and internet-ability.
No Exchange sustain – The gravest omission was a without of sustain for MS Exchange, which meant that users could not view already the most most elementary business information – business mail, contacts, responsibilities, and calendars, on their iPhones, what to speak of progressive collaboration. The only way to unprotected to this was complicated and unreliable workarounds.
The Good News
iPhone’s Business Friendly Features
– high Safari Browser
– Web 2.0 Applications Allowed
– Internet Friendly
– Recent Apple Announcements
Hurray for Web 2.0 – The good news is that they allowed a small window, by which an elephant could be pushed. Soon after its set afloat, Apple announced that it would allow third party web applications supporting web 2.0 standards, to run on iPhone though its high Safari browser. This effectively meant that iPhone could be part of the web 2.0 dramatical change, and access all the high applications therein.
The Safari Browser – iPhones web browser Safari, is a complete web browser with the works. It is light years ahead of the custom made web browsers of traditional corporate handhelds like Palm’s Blazer browser, Blackberry browser, etc. It is not just comparable to a desktop browser, but is a desktop browser. This allows iPhone to ride high on the current web 2.0 wave, instead of just being a bystander.
According to AT&T and Google, iPhone generated 50 times more search requests than any other mobile handset.
Internet-ability- iPhone allows internet access by wi-fi or wide area EDGE networks. One important prerequisite for a mobile to be an effective far away collaboration tool is the willingness and comfort level of users to use the device for web access. With no little thanks to the large characterize & the safari browser, the iPhone has been a huge success as a device for web access. The iPhone increased the average wireless data usage as much as 30 times higher than on other phones.
Apple finally Awakens from its Slumber – Only lately has Apple has woken up to the before ignored aspect of business usage. This was largely caused by the color and cry raised by the media and users over its frustrating without of business friendliness. already as I write, there is news of iPhone finally offering Exchange sustain, and an iPhone SDK (software development kit) which will allow programmers to develop applications specifically to be installed on the iPhone.
But these new developments are not just in their beginning, but already foetal stage. It will be some time before these new applications find their feet, an truly provide trouble free functionality to businesses.
Exchange sustain at this time is issue riddled and works only for companies that sustain Exchange 2007 or Direct Push on Exchange 2003. additionally, this and the set afloat of installed applications for iPhone wont take place until a firmware update slated for June 2008.
Webapps to the Rescue : HyperOffice as a case in study
Amongst the first companies to recognise the opportunity presented by iPhone for high business applications was HyperOffice. Already well experienced in the web based business collaboration domain, they developed HyperOffice for iPhone, an iPhone specific version of their flagship product, HyperOffice.
This allowed business users to use almost the complete characterize set HyperOffice right from their iPhones. instead of an secluded personal information manager, HyperOffice allowed iPhone to be used as a dynamic collaboration tool by which users could access the company intranet, proportion contacts and calendars, plan projects, proportion and edit documents, schedule meetings, & many other things.
They also realised early on that a major pain point for users looking to use iPhone for business was a without of Exchange sustain. HyperOffice allows users to get past this hurdle easily by acting as a bridge between Exchange and iPhone. It allows users to receive information directly from Exchange, or access Outlook information (mail, contacts, calendars, responsibilities) right on iPhone, with or without Exchange. No matter where users access mail and other information – Outlook, iPhone’s email client or on any other web device, information is automatically synched. Users always get updated information.