First look: iPhone 3G S is evolution in action

The iPhone 3G S is less revolutionary than its predecessors, but is still moving in the right direction

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On the business side, the iPhone continues to be attractive, if not as accepted as the BlackBerry. Using the free iPhone Configuration Utility, companies can build iPhone profiles that can be distributed to user phones to configure Wi-Fi and network settings, VPN configuration, mail settings, and so forth for all users' phones. The iPhone Enterprise Deployment Guide offers a list of all these tweaks and how to distribute them. You can implement remote wipe for lost devices as well, either through Microsoft Exchange Server or a maximum failed password setting.

It's the software

Apple has also mentioned data encryption on the phone, possibly using a dedicated chip in the 3G S. Ostensibly, this will perform encryption for data on the phone, such as e-mail, notes, recordings, and whatnot, but details are very hard to come by. (The 451 Group reports that the on-device encryption is 256-bit AES.) There is a new option in iTunes to encrypt the phone backup when the phone is synced, however.

Apple's WWDC demo highlighting a few accessory and application combinations is highly intriguing, especially those aimed at health care professionals. As Apple says, "There's an app for that," and there doesn't appear to be much slowdown in new applications available through Apple's iTunes store.

Given the faster speed, more RAM, and better video performance in the iPhone 3G S, more doors are open for heavier applications, including business programs. It wouldn't surprise me to see corporations requiring some employees to carry iPhones or iPod Touches running custom applications to achieve business goals. If the health care apps are as usable as they seem to be, doctors might start carrying them for professional reasons alone.

Apple iPhone 3G S

Cost$199 with 16GB flash storage, $299 with 32GB; requires two-year AT&T wireless service contract.
PlatformsMac OS X 10.4.11 or later Mac, or Windows Vista or Windows XP SP2 PC, running iTunes 8.2 or later.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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