An Apple iPod for the Enterprise?

Opinion: The new iPod Touch may turn out to be just what businesses, as well as music lovers, need.

OK, so the biggest market for Apples new iPod Touch, and its newly reduced in price 8GB iPhone, is consumers. But, if you take a closer look at both youll see mobile devices that also make a great deal of business sense as well.

When you first look at the iPod Touch, what youre likely to see is the slender as slender can be 8mm device with a 3.5-inch widescreen display with its space-saving, interactive soft touch pad.

After that youd probably notice the usual iPod music and video goodness. But put your business cap on for a moment, and take another look. The iPod Touch also comes with 802.11b/g and the Safari Web browser.

This isnt just another cool iPod; this is a mobile work device. It gives users Web-based e-mail, Web 2.0 applications access and Web browsing. Think about it. With the Web 2007, you can also use Google Apps, gOffice or iZoho to make the iPod Touch a replacement not just for mobile devices, but for light laptop office application use as well. I like this plan. I like this plan a lot.

Even before the iPod Touch showed up, several CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) companies and third-party Exchange mail integrators were working on iPhone-compatible business applications.

For example, you can already do CRM on iPhones with Etelos CRM for Google Apps. Back in July, NetSuite introduced a mobile application access interface called SuitePhone that enables users to access NetSuites CRM and ERP functionality. And then theres Synchronica PLC with its Mobile Gateway 3.0, which supports over-the-air synchronization between Microsoft Exchange and the iPhone.


Click here to read more about iPhone outselling smartphones.

On top of all that, since the iPod Touch comes in an 8GB version that costs $299, and a 16GB version that costs $399, youve got enough local storage to really put the Touch to work in any office.

You should also keep in mind that all these applications, and many more, were created to work with the AT&T 3G EDGE network. EDGE is fine, as far as it goes, but with latency between 500ms and 700ms on a good day and a throughput of 60kbps (kilobits per second) and 120kbps, EDGE isnt really competition for 802.11g.

With 802.11g, however, I typically see 27Mbps throughput and latency thats in the tens of milliseconds. If the iPod Touch can do as well as my older laptops—none of them are newer than 2005—the Touch should make a killer mobile device for offices equipped with Wi-Fi.

Last, but far from least, if you need the voice capabilities of the iPhone more than you do the iPod Touchs superior Wi-Fi and Internet capabilities, its new price point of $399 for the 8GB model is looking a lot more affordable.

Apple is releasing its new iPod Touch in time for the holiday buying season. I, for one, though, would like to find one on my desk in the weeks before the holiday rather than underneath my Christmas tree. The iPod Touch is a serious choice for mobile business users.


Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.