Features Fit For The Enterprise
iPhone users have bemoaned the lack of many features since the launch of the original model, but with the fourth edition, in its squarer new format, most of those feature requests have now been answered.
For starters, users can run multiple applications, making it more desirable for mobile workers.
Adding HD Video and Chat
HD video recording and the FaceTime video chat could well help see more iPhones entering the business space. Video recording, done with the help of a 5 megapixel camera, can be edited in an iPhone version of iMovie. A LED flash will make the phone more practical for those who need to take photos as part of their job. With the other enterprise-focused features we have previously covered, the new models and OS could now have greater appeal for business users.
The new squarer look hides more power and features
APIs Protect Data
Further improvements of use to the enterprise include added data protection through APIs for enterprises' own apps, keeping data safe. Device management APIs can help with compliance and phone management.
Meanwhile SSL VPN support will safely let users into the corporate network and apps from Juniper and Cisco are close behind.
Admins can also set up multiple Exchange ActiveSync accounts and the iPhone will work with Exchange Server 2010. With a new unified inbox, users can see messages from all accounts in one place. All of this adds up to plenty of reasons for business users to be tempted into moving to iPhone.
What the iPhone is Missing
Things still are not perfect in the world of iPhone though, you still can't run updates or sync things like music over the air (although music is not exactly a business need). In Europe where there are multiple operators with iPhone, this wouldn't be such a network hog, but for America, tied into AT&T, this is starting to cause more problems for users than the exclusivity deal is worth.
Some might also complain that the iPhone 4 really should be the 4G, but with so little 4G mobile infrastructure throughout the world, it looks like that feature will have to wait another year or two for the next big update. Plus battery technology will have moved on a little further to help bear the extra cost in juice that 4G requires.
Competition in the Wings
However, Apple isn't getting things all its own way. The latest Android OS version 2.2 is starting to catch up with Apple in sales and features, and with a massive range of phones on multiple networks, it is rapidly picking up steam, currently led by the heavily featured EVO 4G. The iPhone will also face competition from its sister iPad, which has a growing range of enterprise apps and more screen real estate.
Interestingly, the rise of smartphones could see a change in working practices. Already most of our readers will have had a sneaky look at work emails after hours, but a new report shows that a third of mobile web browsing happens between 7PM and midnight. Don't tell us that a lot of that isn't from workers checking their progress.