It's not that I don't like the iPhone's captivating look or slick UI. In fact, I think the iPhone comes closer than most to being the ideal gadget to take with you on the road. What stops me from buying one is that it lacks one vital feature in its remarkable bag of tricks: an Internet connection faster than EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Environment).
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And if you're a storage administrator, you might benefit from reluctance like mine because you can bank on your end-users bringing these little beauties into the workplace.
As for throughput, yes, the iPhone can connect via Wi-Fi to a wireless network at home, in the office, or wherever you can find one. But that's not enough. When you travel, a faster connection such as HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) or EvDO (evolution, data optimized) is a must-have. These days, EDGE no longer cuts it.
As a Cingular -- pardon me, "new AT&T" customer, I know all too well the difficulties of getting on the Internet via EDGE. Downloading multimedia files on the EDGE network is like sucking honey with a straw, only without the sweetness. Uploading files is even worse, much like using dial-up.
Certainly, the main appeal of EDGE is its ubiquity. But any mobile gadget that mixes multimedia and the Internet shouldn't require proximity to a Wi-Fi hotspot to offer adequate download capabilities. No wonder hackers are trying to unlock the iPhone and use it on other networks.
Hopefully, future iPhones will have the ability to connect -- without hacking -- to the faster HSDPA or EvDO, two networks that provide a better fit for the product's multimedia prowess. Perhaps even WiMAX to the desktop, when it finally becomes available. Until then, you can reach me on my smartphone.
From a storage administration perspective, the iPhone -- with its 4GB or 8GB flash drive -- may not seem like much, especially when considering the petabytes of data populating many corporate datacenters today. Yet, taken together, these satellite storage devices could add up to one big burden.
According to the Blackfriars' Marketing blog and others, Apple will have sold 500,000 iPhones in the first weekend of availability alone, which if true proves that not everyone is as put off as I am by the lack of 3G connection. Considering just the smaller-capacity device, for every million iPhones sold, the overinflated storage universe will host another 4PB of data.
Of course, as an admin, you won't have to manage millions of iPhones. But even the few dozen or hundreds sold to your users will create quite an asteroid belt around your solar, I mean, storage system.
You'll likely not have to worry about those users who just store songs and make calls on their iPhones, but many will find it all too convenient to store e-mail and work-related files on their new toys.
And these users will need help from their admins to sync, back up, and recover those files and messages. What's more, an iPhone carrying sensitive files could easily be lost or stolen, landing your company's name in the wrong section of the news. Are you ready to manage that risk?
Each company will need to deal the iPhone tsunami in its own way, but whatever your approach, don't underestimate the added risk of data disclosure. Call me paranoid, but just thinking of how many credit card numbers can be stored on a 4GB flash drive is enough to make me cringe.
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