The Apple iPhone 3G boasts such impressive features as a strong Web browser, a large display and support for Cisco VPN technology, making it a top-tier smart phone. However, the iPhone comes up short in some areas like management tools and its reliance on iTunes for updates.
Maybe you can't judge a book by its cover, but the label that Apple has
chosen for the second version of its popular smart phone sums up the unit
awfully well. The iPhone 3G is more or less the same device as the one Apple
launched in June 2007, with the addition of a faster, so-called
third-generation cellular radio.
However, the iPhone is better positioned to take advantage of a cellular
speed-up than most other smart phones, as Apple's device boasts an excellent
Web browser, an uncommonly large display and an effective mechanism for zooming
in and out of Web pages and other content.
Toss in the new features included with the iPhone's 2.0 firmware-such as
support for Exchange ActiveSync and for Cisco Systems' VPN appliances, and for
natively running third-party applications (see our story, iPhone 2.0 Raises
Device's Enterprise Profile)-and
the iPhone 3G easily qualifies as the most impressive smart phone I've ever
Still, the iPhone 3G falls short of earning eWEEK Labs' Analyst's Choice
designation, due to a set of enterprise management shortfalls, including the
iPhone's reliance on Apple's music store front end, iTunes, for device updates,
and the relatively immature state of Apple's device management tools.
Management warts aside, Apple's iPhone 3G is well worth considering as a business
tool, as it provides a compelling mobile portal both to Web-based applications
and to the emerging crop of iPhone native applications.
The iPhone 3G comes in a $199 model with 8GB of storage capacity and a
$299 model with 16GB of storage. Both models require a two-year service
contract with AT&T, which includes a voice plan along with a $30-per-month
unlimited data plan or a $45-per-month enterprise data plan. AT&T broadly
defines enterprise access as "access [to] corporate e-mail, company
intranet sites and/or other business solutions/applications."
As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. Jason's coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at email@example.com.