Fellow DaniWeb blogger Guy Clapperton makes some excellent points about why, as a "self-employed Mac user," he bought himself a new iPhone following yesterday's announcement of the new 3G model. Are there any compelling reasons to get a new iPhone if you're a corporate employee or business owner, though? Actually, there's quite a few.
One of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of iPhones in the corporate environment is security. IT departments haven't been willing to risk corporate infrastructure so iPhone users could download random apps their devices whenever the mood strikes. Furthermore, it's particularly troublesome that there's no way to wipe an iPhone's data remotely. If a corporate device gets stolen, so does the data it contains.
On top of security issues, the iPhone has been hindered by its inability to work with Microsoft Exchange, something Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices can do right out of the box. All told, there's just been no real reason for businesses to jump on the iPhone bandwagon. Until yesterday.
In addition to Exchange support, the new iPhone 2.0 software upgrade also supports Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, as well as "MobileMe," a Web-based, cross-platform suite of apps that includes push email, contacts, and a calendar. It's a collection of upgrades and new options that clearly telegraphs Apple's attempt to grab BlackBerry market share.
In fact, Steve Jobs wasn't even discreet about Apple's intentions during his keynote at yesterday's Worldwide Developer's Conference. He repeatedly referred to enterprise support as one of the iPhone's new key features and also unveiled a method for businesses to authorize and manage corporate devices internally.
During the keynote, Jobs told the audience that 35% of the Fortune 500 participated in the software's beta program, including banks, airlines, and pharmaceutical companies. Apparently there's a good deal of interest in bringing the iPhone into the corporate environment, and Apple has listened to its customers. Will the new offerings be enough to convince businesses to swap fruit -- an Apple iPhone for a BlackBerry? It sure will be interesting to watch and find out.