iPhone 2.0: Overflow comments

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"?