It took three years and three generations for Apple to finally get it right, but it looks like the iPhone is finally ready to take on Research In Motion in the enterprise. The iPhone software Version 3.0 features some of the most enterprise-friendly features we've seen in any iPhone to date. And its focus on design, apps and a full-featured experience ensures it will continue to be a major player in the space going forward.
Of course, RIM can't be happy about it. That company is currently leading in the enterprise without much competition from other companies. According to the company in its 2009 Annual Report, "The enterprise market continues to be very important to RIM's business." It claimed in that report that more than 175,000 organizations are now using BlackBerry Enterprise Server behind a corporate firewall. Its healthiest user base growth has come from the government, law enforcement, health care and education sectors. And with the help of two new BlackBerry devices released over the past year-the BlackBerry Bold and the BlackBerry Storm-the company is doing its part to stay ahead.
But is it enough? Apple has slowly, but surely, made progress with its iPhone. When it was first released in 2007, it had few enterprise-friendly features. Last year, with its iPhone 3G, it added faster network connectivity and an App Store that allowed developers to create business-focused apps. But it wasn't until Apple finally announced the iPhone 3.0 software that the enterprise took notice. It features push e-mail, calendar, and contacts; Exchange support; copy and paste; Spotlight search; voice memos; and an improved calendar. It's a more capable software package.
It also doesn't help RIM that Apple is releasing the iPhone 3G S. That device is reportedly twice as fast as the current iPhone 3G. And at a price that's relatively affordable-$199 for the base model-it's not a stretch to say the iPhone 3G S is the most attractive iPhone yet.
But just how attractive is that iPhone? Let's dig a little deeper to see why it's the best choice for the enterprise when it hits store shelves next week.
The New Features
Say what you will about the BlackBerry and its enterprise support, but with the inclusion of push e-mail, calendar and contacts in the new iPhone, it's immediately more attractive than previous versions of the software. And thanks to Exchange support, more companies will find reasons to use it. But there's one feature that the iPhone finally has that makes it all the more appealing to the enterprise: tethering.