A trickle into the enterprise

Consumers may be snatching up iPhones, but many IT executives are holding off, weighing murky issues like support, TCO and even durability.

It might not be long before you see District of Columbia police officers reaching into their pockets and pulling out iPhones -- in the line of duty. The city is field-testing Apple's phone and is considering distributing the devices to as many as 1,000 employees, including police officers.


Main feature: iPhone: One year later

"We're a big proponent of this technology," says Vivek Kundra, the district's chief technology officer. "One of my mantras is to introduce more consumer technology into the enterprise."

One reason for Kundra's enthusiasm is that, one year after its ballyhooed introduction, Apple is increasingly pointing its iPhone toward businesses. Apple's iPhone 2.0 firmware, due late this month, will support Microsoft Exchange Server, Cisco's IPsec-based VPN client, WPA2 Wi-Fi security and other enterprise-friendly technologies.

"It's clear they're aiming at the enterprise," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch and a columnist. "You don't build in Exchange support for consumers."

In addition to the new features, Apple released a software development kit (SDK) in April that enables developers to create their own applications for the iPhone, whether they are iPhone-ready versions of existing enterprise apps or entirely new ones. Virtually any application that works on other devices will soon work on the iPhone. Some commercial software vendors, including SAP AG, have also said that they intend to build iPhone versions of some of their key applications.

"This could lead to sales of tens of millions more iPhones for Apple," says Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney. "Even if IT shops don't proactively solicit adoption, users will force them to take a look at it."

Gartner recently endorsed limited adoption of iPhone 2.0 by large organizations because of the device's new capabilities. However, Gartner's recommendation and the enthusiasm of IT executives such as Kundra won't necessarily translate into a groundswell of support for the iPhone in all companies.

"I have nothing against iPhone. It's great," says Manjit Singh, CIO at Chiquita Brands International. "But we're a BlackBerry shop, and I don't think iPhone brings anything new to the table. It has a great user experience, but that's all."

While that type of sentiment is Apple's challenge, the rapidly growing consumer acceptance of the device is its advantage. Consumer adoption may well help accelerate acceptance of iPhone 2.0 in the enterprise, but not without IT managers giving close scrutiny to its capabilities, security, support, price and even durability.

App complication

Proponents claim that the iPhone's exceptional user experience will encourage mobile employees to make the most of new and existing mobile enterprise apps.

"For any application to be effective, people have to use it," says Vinay Iyer, vice president of marketing for SAP CRM. And since mobile applications are usually designed to increase productivity, the expectation by some, like Iyer, is that the iPhone will encourage mobile workers to embrace mobile applications, which in turn will make them more productive.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Haskin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?