Apple's pitch on iPhone 3G is that it's as well suited to enterprise use as a BlackBerry. The core technology is certainly there, with an ActiveSync (Microsoft Exchange Server) mail client, AJAX-capable browser, Cisco-compatible VPN, and Office and PDF mail attachment viewers. iPhone's UI revolutionized the mobile industry with scalable text and graphics, a display surface capable of responding to multifinger gestures, and an on-screen keyboard that works without a stylus.
So iPhone has the essential enterprise ingredients. The question is, does Apple's recipe fit the enterprise better than alternatives? Having worked with iPhone since last June, the honest answer is yes and no. iPhone is an unqualified hit among users. No one will complain about being migrated from whatever they're carrying now to an iPhone 3G. Employees and contractors will trample each other for a shot at an iPhone, unwittingly exposing themselves to better reachability and collaboration. For Mac users, it's practically pointless to carry anything else.
iPhone is a smart way to keep workers in touch while they're traveling because it's an unparalleled lifestyle accessory. Anyone who owns one will always have it with them, talking, texting, surfing, listening to music, and watching videos. Enterprises shouldn't brush this aside as a consideration. A mobile device is of limited use if its user can't wait to be without it.
Apple invested the bulk of its initial effort in the design and implementation of iPhone to make the device irresistible to users. Mission accomplished. Phase two made the device an easy sell to developers. I'm still waiting for phase three, which makes iPhone enterprise-friendly for configuration, equipping, deployment, and management in substantial numbers. Right now, the best I can say is that an enterprise deployment of iPhone can be done, but not as easily, flexibly, or securely as for a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device.