iPhone 2.0: Overflow comments

| Ted Landau's User Friendly View
In this month's User Friendly View column, I offer my take on what an iPhone 2.0 future will be like. There were a few thoughts tumbling around in my head that didn't make it to the column. I offer them here, as overflow comments.

First up is "push." The demonstration of push email, contacts and calendar events at the March 6 iPhone Event was quite impressive. Unfortunately, as I understand it, these capabilities only work if you are connected to an Exchange Server. The only more general push function remains the one for Yahoo! mail (as noted here), which worked with the iPhone from Day 1.

I hope that Apple finds a way to extend these push features so that all users can get the benefit. One such solution would be for the iPhone to sync with .Mac. In this setup, when you sync Calendars and Contacts with .Mac (as determined by the Sync tab settings of the .Mac System Preferences pane in Mac OS X), any changes to the .Mac content would be instantly "pushed" to your iPhone. Your .Mac email would be similarly pushed. Some complications might crop up when you next sync your iPhone in iTunes, but these should be resolvable.

Not only would this open up push features to all iPhone users, it would provide an additional incentive to subscribe to .Mac—making it a win-win for both Apple and iPhone users.

Speaking of enterprise, the initial reaction to the new enterprise features in iPhone 2.0 have been largely very favorable (see this Macworld article for one example). Although I am not an IT person or enterprise user myself, it certainly seems that Apple did a bang-up job here. Still, I retain some substantial skepticism about what will happen down the road. Apple, from the earliest days of the Mac (I am thinking back as far as to when the LaserWriter was introduced in 1985), has had its eyes on the business and enterprise market. Yet, despite many attempts (some of which seemed very appealing at the time), it has never succeeded in getting a significant share of this market.

I have to wonder whether the iPhone may run into similar trouble. Some have already cited the iPhone's restriction to one carrier (AT&T in the U.S.) as a significant impediment. This echoes opinions, from years past, that PCs were preferred over Macs because IT people did not want to risk dependence on only one vendor (Apple) for hardware. Apple is much better positioned today (with billions in cash and a sterling reputation) to refute similar arguments for the iPhone. But they will still come. There are also the traditional cultural conflicts that Apple always has to contend with (as detailed in this Mac Observer column).

Personally, I am betting that the iPhone can defy the naysayers and break through the enterprise ceiling (much as the iPod did in its market). But past history tells me to be a bit cautious in my optimism.

Finally, going back to the March 6 event itself, those on the stage were able to demo the iPhone by mirroring the iPhone display to a large screen. As someone who gives presentations from time to time, I would love to be able to do this myself. Unfortunately, this is apparently not possible with the iPhones currently for sale. Yes, there are composite and component video cables for the iPhone, but these only work to "watch videos or slideshows" (as quoted from the Apple Store description). Isn't it about time that Apple gave this feature to "the rest of us"?

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13 Comments Leave Your Own

Bosco

At&T is not just a huge impediment. It’s a deal breaker. I already have Sprint service which I’m locked into and pretty happy with. I have three additional phones on the plan for family 450 miles away. We use the phones for business and the free in-network minutes for calls to each other. With 4 phones between us, we used over 2000 free minutes last month. Sprint also gave me a discount on their unlimited wireless data card for my MacBook Pro. So I’m going to uproot all that for an iPhone. Nope.

I’m actually quite happy with my iPod Touch, Sanyo M1 flip phone, and Palm TX. I can see the TX giving way to the iPod Touch completely when 3rd party apps become available. The flip phone is also a winner because it’s convenient to carry wherever I go and has a decent MP3 player built-in, great for walking the dogs when I want a phone with me.
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Dan

Not sure why people think push email is such a big deal. I’ve had an iPhone since the first day they went on sale, and have set it up with my ISP mail accounts (Comcast) as well as setting up a Yahoo account.  I haven’t seen much of an advantage with the Yahoo account. In fact, what would end up getting pushed is more offers for Viagra and porn!

Doug

Exactly,  ATT was the deal breaker and is the only reason I got a Touch not a iPhone.  Love the touch.  When it is open to other carriers I will consider the switch, not til then.

Arcfault

The problem with the argument that by not going with Apple that IT people are not being tethered to one company is a false state of mind. While the box may be built by one of several manufacturers, the OS is made by one vendor. That argument is true if they are shopping between Apple, Windows, Linux or other OS based systems for the same tasks and not to different division in the company (i.e. Windows for sales force, Apple for in-house design and Linux for servers). most of the time it is simply IT departments unwilling to try other systems in order to keep the status quo, instead of trying to find more efficient or more stable systems.

Anyway, it is impossible to understand the ramifications of the unveiling as this was a roadmap event and demo of some of the new features coming out. Apple always keeps a lot of cards up their sleeves and usually those are the more tantalizing ones.

Terrin

I will never ever ever use anything from AT&T. With that said, I am using an iPhone running on T-Mobile. It is a bit of a pain waiting for hacks to be able to use the updates, but I love the phone. Moreover, around me, it sounds better on T-Mobile then on AT&T.

Terrin

I disagree that Microsoft’s success over Apple’s success had anything to do with not being tied to one developer. Back in the day, business people used IBM. IBM backed Microsoft. Business people simply weren’t going to toss their long standing relationship with IBM aside for a product from a possible fly by night company. Times of course change, but it takes time.

Daniel (Palluxo! Editor)

As Steve Wozniak stated, iPhone 2G is still an old technology. We should be talkin gabout iPhone 3G, but Apple is one step behind competitors… well, hope you read Woz’s interview.

Darcie

As soon as they come up with a Iphone that works on the Verizon network I will be the first inline. AT&T’s coverage is terrible where I live and many places I go to, Verizon is not.

Philip

Dear Dan, Push email is a big deal. It’s not just a matter of having your email straight away.
(1) Your sent items get sync’d, which doesn’t happen with many other systems.
(2) Contacts/Address Book and Calendar are sync’d wirelessly.
(3) You never have to sync using a cable again!
(4) The phone can be remotely wiped if lost or stolen.
(5) Much of the administration can be centrally managed.

This may not be a big deal for a home user but for serious work, these features are a must.
For example, the office can add or change a calendar entry and it soon appears on your phone.


[quote comment=“245”]Not sure why people think push email is such a big deal. I’ve had an iPhone since the first day they went on sale ............

Barry G

I am always amazed at these announcements.  I suppose Apple wants to improve their street cred wtih the corporate community- who largely turned up their nose at the iPhone.  So - good, they are putting some muscle into that.  But the release and keynote say nothing about the benefits to the people who bought the first few million iPhones- SOHO and individuals.  I think it is great that they are going to build in sunc to Exchange- but how about us poor schleps who just sync to our local Outlook and use POP for mail?  Will I finally get to sync my Outlook mail file?  How about telling the software NOT to downloaed everything on the server (like that 10 MB clip someone sent).  There is a lot to like about the iPhone, but every time I pick up mail, I miss my Treo.  I cannot be the only single user scratching my head about this- nevermind teh lack of 3g speed.

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