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6/8/2009
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Is Apple's iPhone 3GS Enterprise Ready?

The 3.0 software and iPhone 3GS offer incremental improvements for corporate deployments, but experts note some key elements are still missing.

Apple iPhone 3GS
(click image for larger view)
Apple iPhone 3GS

The new iPhone 3GS and iPhones with the 3.0 software will inevitably find their way into the hands of enterprise workers, but are the devices secure enough for corporate networks?

Mobile security experts told InformationWeek that the 3.0 software is a significant improvement for the platform, but it still may fall short in some categories. Regardless, the popularity of the device means many IT departments will have to make tough choices.

While many of the new features for the 3.0 software and the iPhone 3GS have been available on competing platforms for years, the feature list isn't as important as how well these are implemented, according to Jason Lackey, marketing manager with InnoPath.

"A lot of folks are concerned about feature lists, and they put checkmarks next to a long list of options but no one cares about how they're implemented or if the end user benefits from it," said Lackey. "Apple has shown they know how to bake in these features, and bake them in right."

Lackey sees the improved capabilities of the 3.0 software and the decreased price of the iPhone 3G as a catalyst for wider adoption in the enterprise environment. One of the most appealing new features of the software for the mobile professional is the ability to use the iPhone as a wireless modem for computers or laptops. Apple said the ability to tether will be seamless, and can be done over a USB cable or with Bluetooth. The company said it had 42 carriers that would support this at launch, but AT&T will not be one of them. The second-largest U.S. carrier said it definitely would offer iPhone tethering, but a date and price will be announced at a later time.

Another new feature will help users who misplace their phones often, as MobileMe users will be able to see where their phone is on a map. With the "Find My iPhone" service, users can send a message or alert to the misplaced device that will play even if the smartphone is in silent mode. If the device appears to be unrecoverable, users can remotely wipe it from afar. The wiping can be undone if the user recovers the device as well.

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