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6/9/2008
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Apple's iPhone 3G Rounds Out Enterprise Coverage

Apple is making the right promises to companies and their mobile workforces, but analysts suggest the devil is in the details.


iPhone 3G Image Gallery

iPhone 3G Image Gallery

Photo by Kim Kulish

Apple on Monday unveiled its iPhone 3G handset and the technology businesses would want to integrate the iPhone into corporate networks. But Apple's success hinges on whether its claims prove true.

During his opening keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, chief executive Steve Jobs listed what businesses need in order let employees use the iPhone to access company data, experts say. Security, broad integration with Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, and the ability to notify employees of events that demand their attention are some of the features that are sure to please potential corporate customers.

But how easily developers will be able to implement the features, particularly the security needed to prevent unauthorized access to networks, will not be known until Apple releases version 2.0 of the iPhone operating system July 11.

"The devil is in the details, and we're going to have to wait until we hear from developers," Gartner analyst Mike McGuire said.

More about the iPhone

Analyst Ken Dulaney, also with Gartner, agreed. "We didn't see a lot of depth, and for the enterprise, it's details." As a result, Dulaney said he would hold off recommending the iPhone to corporate clients until after Apple releases the new iPhone platform and software development kit.

So far, however, Apple is making the right promises. For starters, the smartphone will run on wireless carriers' 3G cellular networks, which should give users a dramatic speed boost. The iPhone in the United States supported AT&T's much slower EDGE network. AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States, recently rolled out its 3G network.

"It's amazingly zippy," Jobs told WWDC attendees about the new iPhone's ability to download Web pages.

Apple also has included support for global positioning systems that use satellites for determining locations. GPS means iPhone uses can get turn-by-turn navigation on city streets.

Businesses will be particularly interested in the iPhone's tight integration with the popular Microsoft Exchange e-mail server. E-mail is automatically pushed to the phone, along with changes to contact lists and calendars. In addition, security policies on Exchange can be enforced on the iPhone, and data on the device can be remotely wiped out if it's lost or stolen.

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