The iPhone Is Closer Than You Think - Page 2

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2008-01-12 Print this article Print

The development of corporate applications for the iPhone will be a critical factor in determining the device's success or failure in the enterprise. Although a few applications have been developed, the iPhone shipped without an SDK (software development kit). Things could change soon, however, as Apple is readying an SDK for release in February.

But with the emergence of Google's Android mobile application, which is backed by the OHA (Open Handset Alliance) and its 34 industry participants, the iPhone could find its SDK playing second fiddle to Android. Some tea leaf readers, however, foresee connections between Android and the iPhone, pointing to the fact that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt also sits on the board of Apple.

Other iPhone developments could change the corporate equation. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said publicly that an iPhone with features that can be exploited by third-generation wireless networks will roll out this year. 3G capabilities include higher speeds, advanced multimedia support and global roaming.

Until it gains the features that enterprises demand, the iPhone will remain an unsupported enterprise device, eliciting a draconian response from corporate IT.

"We have had a couple of requests about the iPhone," said Greg Smith, CIO at the World Wildlife Fund. "People wanted to know when we would buy iPhones. The answer is, we have a standard [the BlackBerry]. It's a platform that has been very well researched. If the device has not been bought by us, it is not supported or integrated."

Despite that hard line, Smith is not blind to historical parallels. "We used to hear the same thing about the PC," he said.

Compatibility with Microsoft's Exchange Server would be a big boost for the iPhone, said Smith. "Most corporations might pay for it if it were integrated," he said.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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