Apple

CIO Jury: The Apple iPhone verdict

An "unnecessary, overpriced and over-hyped box"

CIOs have praised the look and features of Apple's newly launched iPhone but say its price will hinder adoption by business users.

Half of silicon.com's 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said they would be tempted to use an iPhone, although some raised concerns about it being tied to one mobile operator and its $499 price tag.

Alastair Behenna, CIO at Harvey Nash, said: "It is a very interesting launch product and once it has settled into use the price should become more realistic. If nothing else it will act as a catalyst to other manufacturers and the competitive evolution of the iPhone will definitely be worth keeping a watching brief on. Once again, well done Apple."

Sean Powley, assistant director for organisational development and customer services at the London Borough of Barnet, added: "The iPhone takes convergence beyond the spin of recent years and makes it a reality - so long as Apple sorts the connectivity provision."

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The iPhone also comes loaded with Apple's Safari web browser and fully incorporates Google's search and mapping services. Users can make phone calls directly from Google Maps. Phone service in the US will be provided exclusively by Cingular Wireless.

But the business benefits of an iPhone are harder to justify. Peter Pedersen, CTO at Rank Group, said: "I think Apple's iPhone will be a great success and that individuals will buy it for themselves. However I believe it is unrealistic to expect business to be a significant adopter, as the cost/benefit to the business is in a grey area. It definitely will fall into the 'perks' category for now."

There are also other questions about the iPhone's suitability and compatibility for business users. Ken Davis, IT director at TV channel Five, said: "It's an interesting toy from a personal viewpoint, however from a corporate perspective it would need to prove its hardware reliability and software compatibility with Exchange and other corporate communication systems before we would consider making it part of our portfolio of supported devices."

Others are less convinced by the iPhone hype and Jacques Rene, CTO at Ascend Aerospace, said it is "too expensive and proprietary".

Paul Broome, CTO at 192.com, said: "There are plenty of equally good and cheaper models out there and it's clear he [Steve Jobs] does not understand how important text [messaging] is to users."

There is also no interest in the iPhone from Ted Woodhouse, director of IT strategy, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, who said his phone already does more than he needs it to do and that his MP3 player is smaller and more convenient than an iPhone.

He said: "I don't need to be able to point at phone numbers/names, in order to ring people, and I never watch TV or video on my phone. A BlackBerry or laptop with a wireless card allows me all the corporate remote access I need. The iPhone is combining relatively unconnected features into a single, unnecessary, overpriced and over-hyped box. What's the battery life and durability like? Because if it's anything like the iPod, that's not good enough either."

Today's CIO Jury was...

Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
Paul Broome, CTO at 192.com
Ken Davis, IT director, Five
Mark Dearnley, CIO, Cable & Wireless
John Keeling, director of computer services, John Lewis
Rory O'Boyle, head of IT, The Football Association
Peter Pedersen, CTO, Rank Group
Sean Powley, assistant director for organisational development and customer services, London Borough of Barnet
Jacques Rene, CTO, Ascend Aerospace
David Supple, director of IT and creative services, Ecotec
Ted Woodhouse, director of IT strategy, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Graham Yellowley, director of technology, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International

Want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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