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The iPhone for the Enterprise

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.
The iPhone3G hit stores today, but of course you knew that already. iPhone3G is the device Apple touts as "The best phone for business. Ever" boasting a few new features that business users will need. The iPhone3G is, of course, a "3G" phone meaning it can access higher speed data networks from the wireless carriers. The new iPhone also supports Microsoft Exchange putting push email, calendar and contact information at your fingertips. The iPhone3G has a VPN client, WPA2 Enterprise and 802.1X authentication for business-grade security.Of course the other big news from Apple is the opening of the App Store and the many 3rd-party apps being made available there. I did a scan of the applications surfacing for iPhone3G paying specific attention to apps that support the Enterprise 2.0 vision. Here's what I found:Social Networking: The role of social networking in business is an ongoing discussion but undoubtedly something that will play an increasing role in our ability to connect with others and share expertise. The iTunes App Store has a lot of applications geared towards social networking though most are very consumer oriented. Some of the social networking apps I came across are:
  • AIM: "lets you stay connected with the people you care about right on your iPhone or iPod Touch"
  • Whrrl: "lets your friends light up your map based on the places they go in the real world"
  • Facebook: "makes it easy to stay connected and share information with friends"
  • Loopt" "uses location technology to connect you to the world around you like never before"
Search:
  • Google Mobile App: "makes it fast and easy to search"
RSS:
  • NetNewsWire: "an RSS Reader for the iPhone" (Note: this is from Newsgator and will sync with their desktop readers)
  • iRSS: "a generic RSS news feed reader that supports RSS 1.0 and 2.0 standards"
Blogging/Publishing:
  • TypePad: "Update your blog and share pictures with the world from wherever you are"
  • Mobile Flickr: "lets you browse and upload to Flickr"
  • Twitterrific: "lets you read and publish posts on the Twitter social network"
  • Exposur: "puts Flickr in your pocket"
  • LifeCast: "record life in text and photos, as you go about your day, time-stamping entries and can even record the geo-location"
Enterprise Applications:
  • Salesforce Mobile: "your critical customer information is instantly available through the iPhone's familiar touch screen format"
  • Oracle Business Indicators: "a business intelligence application that provides real-time, secure access to business performance information on the mobile device"
In addition to the applications built to run right on the iPhone, there are also a slew of web-based applications now available, 1933 to be exact.What kind of impact the iPhone3G will have in business is yet to be seen. The business market is a vast opportunity for Apple but is also a market that Apple has not traditionally been able to penetrate. Does the iPhone3G change that? Maybe not, but at the very least it will continue to raise the bar on what we should expect from our mobile devices.
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing