Corporate iPhone : What are the implications?

The applications, hardware and security that will make the iPhone so usable needs be set up and maintained, especially as new features are deployed almost on a monthly basis, irrespective of country of location.

Any IT department should also be looking at how they can remotely interrogate, backup and restore an iPhone to ensure that the user is not abusing its use, with potential legal repercussions, and that if lost, stolen or sold, it can be remotely deleted.

Apple could almost achieve this through iTunes, but more sensibly should have worked with Intellisync, mFormation and many others to ensure that existing systems can provide the relevant control.

What’s the betting that’s happened?!

Apart from the usability, the main point of a corporate iPhone is what it could do that it can’t do now.

The iPhone is being seen by corporate customers as a BlackBerry replacement, so it must have BlackBerry type features.

An open application platform as supported by all other smartphones is a pre-requisite. Apple have indicated that applications will be controlled via iTunes, which for a centralised IT department may not be good news.

Fundamentally the iPhone needs to support Push email using either Microsoft Direct Push or BlackBerry built in. Both services are well proven and effective. DataViz for UIQ is a real boon.

In addition native CRM and application interfaces tailored to the iPhone and back end system must be allowed. Future iPhone sales will be hit if Apple prevents this.

Not allowing the existing iPhone to act as a modem, or providing full feature Bluetooth access, are just two mistakes that need rectification.

Even EDGE data speeds are better than no WAN capability for a laptop, and though there are third party solutions, the iPhone needs to be jailbreaked to allow them.

The omission of full Bluetooth access is also disappointing, one that should have been corrected months ago. Bluetooth provides a diverse method of sending and receiving information, let alone the use of Bluetooth stereo headphones, all of which have been denied to the iPhone user.

Remote camera and Bluetooth control would also help, but I’d be amazed if that ever happened.

I’ve banged on about what should happen, but this is what I guess will.

1. SME and corporate tariffs : O2 will have a corporate tariff, but I guess it will not be allowed on an existing contract.
2. Security : Some form of remote device erasure through iTunes but no integration with existing systems.
3. Applications : A push email application, but how extensive it will be is anyone’s guess (apart from Apple’s product managers).
4. Control and asset management : Not a chance.
5. Hardware flexibility and interfacing : Not a remote chance.