Users get push messaging and desktop equivalency
The licensing of ActiveSync benefits not just IT but users in Microsoft Exchange-based environments. They not only can access the same calendar, contacts, e-mail, and other data as they can from their desktop, but they also gain push e-mail. In push e-mail, the iPhone gets a new message almost as soon as it is sent -- a feature beloved by users of the BlackBerry, which pioneered the concept. Previously, the iPhone had to poll the server periodically, typically at 15-minute intervals, so unless users manually polled the server, an urgent message might not be seen for some time.
Still, IT won't be completely happy
As welcome as the SDK and enhanced business-oriented features are, people still have more they want Apple to offer.
A common request is availability from more than one carrier. Currently, the iPhone only works on the AT&T network. "Companies don't want a single carrier for voice and data," said Forrester's Yates.
Second, the iPhone isn't supported by management tools like LanDesk and lacks a consistent set of management tools like those from Credant Technologies and LanDesk, which support BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Palm OS devices. This means that IT has to manage the iPhone separately from other devices as well as separately from PCs. "What [Apple] needs to do is natively integrate into management tools that companies already use for their other mobile devices," Yates said.
Perhaps worse, the iPhone requires IT and developers to push applications to users through the Apple iPhone store. Apple says it is doing so in a way that will be IT-friendly, though it did not specify any details: "We're working on a model for enterprises for them to distribute applications to their end-users, specifically with a program for them to target their end-users. We have a model we're building for that," said Phil Schiller, a product marketing exec at Apple.