iPhone App Store Brings Productivity Applications to Life

On opening day Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch delivers the billable hour tracking, tip calculating and expense reporting that are staples of mobile workers who rely on handheld devices. Applications are grouped by category, and of the 25 currently in the "business" section I found more

On opening day Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch delivers the billable hour tracking, tip calculating and expense reporting that are staples of mobile workers who rely on handheld devices.

Applications are grouped by category, and of the 25 currently in the "business" section I found more than enough time-and-expense trackers. New to me, and brimming with possibilities for mobile use is iFob, a social network that uses the phone's built-in wireless connectivity to find other iFob-ers in the vicinity to talk to. (iFob also appeared in the "social networking" category, which seems like a better place for it.)

Salesforce.com's Mobile, already available on the BlackBerry and Windows Mobile platforms, is now a free download for the iPhone. I don't have an Unlimited Edition license or an Enterprise or Professional account for testing, but I'm guessing that field salespeople across the country are going to be asking for an iPhone so they can get access to their Salesforce data without having to fire up the laptop.

Apple has built viral promotion into its store. Telling coworkers and contacts about apps is as easy as e-mailing a picture. While on the application description page, there is an oh-so-convenient "tell a friend" button. My colleague Andrew Garcia has more on App Store and its use in the enterprise. I'll just add that IT managers should press for some sort of customization over what apps are offered to users on company-provided iPhone handsets. With all the "cool" apps that can be added to the iPhone, it could drag down performance and chew up device memory with such easy and unrestrained access to the regular App Store.

I can already tell that I'm going to be a big fan of the App Store for the convenience and presumably the compatibility I'll get for apps that I put on my first-generation iPhone. While I was a big consumer of professional apps on my Treo 650, I don't want to think about how many hours of my life were wasted hunting around for and then installing the apps on my Treo. The iPhone experience couldn't be more different in terms of convenience. And at first glance the prices (and the variety) of the apps look to be in the same ballpark as what I paid for my Treo apps.

App Store, here I come.