Tuesday, March 25, 2008

iPhone declared ready for iBusiness

The halo around Apple's funky iPhone is ready to shine its light on big business, says analyst group Gartner.

Gartner originally deemed Apple's groovy phone unfit for business use but, with the upcoming firmware 2.0 release, the analyst group puts the iPhone on par with BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian Series 60 devices for basic corporate use.

Apple has never really cracked the corporate market outside the creativity space, but could Gartner's blessing propel the iPhone into the boardroom and drag other Apple products along for the ride?

The three features in iPhone firmware 2.0 that caught Gartner's attention are Microsoft ActiveSync, Cisco IPSEC and wifi WPA2 security. These features will let the iPhone access corporate Microsoft Exchange email servers and create secure Virtual Private Network links into the office - two features which most businesses would consider essential for road warriors. The new features also let users connect to secure corporate wireless networks when they're in the office.

Combined with the iPhone Software Development Kit, these new features will allow "enterprises to develop local code and create applications that do not depend on network capabilities," says Gartner's Ken Dulaney. That seems fair enough, but it's the next comments that really caught my eye;

"Expansion of the iPhone into the enterprise could mean that Apple will become a mainstream supplier of client platform development tools. This could mean that other Apple products begin to appeal to end users."

In other words, Garnet thinks the iPhone might now be able to replicate the iPod's halo effect - which in consumer-land has seen people buying Macs after using an iPod. What do you think? Once big business gets a taste of the iPhone, will it open the flood gates for Apple products into corporate-land?


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