Apple iPhone Event

March 6, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Apple held an iPhone event today at which two topics were discussed. First up were the enterprise announcements Apple referred to when news of the event was first released. The announcements involved the two areas in which the iPhone has been most often criticized or use in the enterprise: email integration and security.

Enterprise Email: The iPhone will have built-in integration with Microsoft Exchange servers. Push email, contacts, and calendar events will be supported. Global address book support is also included. To me the big word from the announcement is push. I would like to be notified when I get a new email. Right now I have to get out the iPhone, unlock it, click on the Mail icon, and go to the email account I want to check. I’ll be interested to see how energy efficient the push email solution is. Push email won’t be useful if it means the iPhone’s battery can’t last the whole day.

The only drawback I see so far is that it requires the use of an Exchange server. As a Mac user, I wouldn’t be too happy about having to buy a Windows box to run Exchange just so I could get push email on my iPhone. What I would really like to see is push email on the iPhone powered by Leopard Server.

Security: The iPhone will receive a big security boost too. Most users won’t care about this, but their IT departments certainly will. One of the big fears about allowing corporate email access on the iPhone was what would happen if an iPhone is stolen. The iPhone’s remote wipe feature will allow the IT department to disable or delete at least part of the iPhone’s data (it’s unclear if the wipe feature will extend to everything on the phone or just the Exchange component).

Other security features include:

  • Cisco IPsec VPN
  • Two-factor authentication, certificates and identities
  • Enterprise-class Wi-Fi with WPA2/802.1x
  • Tools to enforce security policies

There’s a lot there to love, and it looks like Apple really listened well to the corporate IT folks.

The other set of announcements from Apple today relate to the iPhone SDK. The SDK (software development kit) is what allows people to write their own applications for the iPhone. Apart from games (something else to do on the train on the way to work), it looks like developers will be able to write some really cool applications. I won’t get into the details, but Apple has put together a pretty good set of tools for writing iPhone applications.

I am already excited about one application coming to the iPhone: OmniFocus. The ink was barely dry and the guys at The Omni Group were already announcing an iPhone application for OmniFocus. I like OmniFocus, but my big problem is that I don’t get to use my Mac for most of the day. My standard operating procedure has been to email myself reminders. I can create tasks in OmniFocus with emails, but I want real remote access to my task lists. That’s where an OmniFocus iPhone application comes in. I can’t wait!

Apple has a video of the event up on it’s website. You might get bored once they start talking about the SDK, but if you stick around you’ll get to see some cool video of Touch Fighter.


  1. There are lots of great hosted exchange services out there. Take a look at Hopefully they’ll support the iPhone.

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