iPhone

iPhone: Why I may be seduced by the dark side

I've written often about the iPhone and its delicate dance in the enterprise, but the iPhone's time may have now arrived. Hear why and learn the one big obstacle still holding it back (hint: it's not the keyboard).

I've written often about the iPhone and its delicate dance in the enterprise, but the iPhone's time may have now arrived. Hear why and learn the one big obstacle still holding it back (hint: it's not the keyboard).

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What a difference a year makes.

TechRepublic has been testing the iPhone since the day the first model launched on June 30, 2007. TechRepublic maintained an account with AT&T as we continued to test the iPhone and consider its use as a business device. After the, we kept the cellular account activated for a couple months.

But, a couple months after the iPhone 3G was released on July 11, 2008, we deactivated the iPhone. We had originally planned to keep it active so that we could cover the business applications from the new iPhone App Store that Apple launched in conjunction with the iPhone 3G.

But, although the iPhone technology itself was very compelling, there just weren't enough useful business apps on the iPhone for TechRepublic to cover it regularly. So we terminated the AT&T contract and turned the iPhone into a Wi-Fi-only device last August.

Fast forward to April 2009. With the announcement of the iPhone 3.0 software in March and the third generation iPhone expected to be unveiled by the middle of 2009, I decided that it was time for TechRepublic to start paying more attention to the iPhone again and to revisit the iPhone App Store to see if there is anything in there to make it more compelling to the corporate world.

So I dug out the iPhone 3G, put it in a Griffin case with a ZAGG InvisibleSheild, loaded a bunch of iPhone apps, and started regularly carrying it as a Wi-Fi device. The timing was good since I've been traveling a lot this spring, so I've been able to test it like a true road warrior.

I've been pretty surprised and impressed. This time around, the iPhone has proven to be far more useful, and it's entirely due to the software.

Apps, for the win

After my eight-month hiatus from the iPhone, it's been great to see the improvement of several important applications and the breadth and quality of new applications in the iPhone App Store. Last year it was a struggle to find anything useful for business users. Now, there's a wealth of good stuff, and I keep finding new apps every week.

Here is a quick look at some of the useful apps I've found (with help from Macworld's iPhone Apps Guide) for business users, especially frequent travelers:

  • Amazon Kindle - This app offers an excellent way to read business books. It even syncs with your Kindle reader, if you have one. I didn't think I'd want to read books on the iPhone screen but this app converted me into a believer.
  • BizExpense - Track business and travel expenses.
  • QuickOffice - Lets you view and edit Word and Excel files.
  • mbPointer - This apps allows you to control PowerPoint presentations with the iPhone.
  • Taxi Magic - Use iPhone's GPS chip to help you find a local cab company.
  • FedEx Mobile - Easily track your FedEx packages.
  • Mileage Bug - Track your mileage on business trips.
  • Bloomberg - This offers a lot more financial market information than the iPhone's native Stocks application. AOL Daily Finance is another good alternative.
  • MoneyWatch Mobile - This provides access to articles and videos with practical financial advice from CBS MoneyWatch.com (both MoneyWatch and TechRepublic are owned by CBS)
  • Wall Street Journal - This standard bearer of financial news and analysis has a very usable iPhone application that includes multimedia.
  • Tweetie - I've written about the business potential of Twitter. There are lots of iPhone Twitter applications, but Tweetie is the one that acts most like the Twitter site.
  • Yammer - For those who want a mini Twitter experience limited to internal employees, Yammer is a great solution and it includes a nice iPhone app.

There are tons of other business applications that are worth a look, including Citrix Receiver, Cisco Webex Meeting Center, Salesforce.com, Traffic View, remote desktop apps, file management and syncing apps, database access apps, and to-do list apps. There's even an app called iTie that shows you the various methods of tying a tie.

For business travelers, the iPhone's Weather application is still very handy since it allows you to quickly flip through multiple cities  to check the highs and lows and basic forecasts. You can now supplement this information with the Weather Channel app for more in-depth forecasts.

Same goes for the iPhone's original World Clock app. I've now gained greater appreciation for this app as I've recently been working with colleagues and contractors in multiple time zones (Australia, U.K., etc.) and this little app allows me to set up favorite cities and then quickly glance at the current time in each time zone. I also discovered that it includes a timer, stopwatch, and alarm clock (which is better than having to wrestle unfamiliar an alarm clock in a hotel room).

I was also impressed with the iPhone's updated software for Exchange syncing. The online/offline syncing of Exchange mail now functions almost identically to Microsoft Outlook in Windows. Google's Gmail app on the iPhone is also much-improved and now functions a lot like Exchange.

From a personal standpoint, there are now a number of apps that make the iPhone even more valuable. And I'm not talking about all of the games. I'm talking about apps that let me do mobile online banking, manage my Netflix queue (PhoneFlix), browse photos from Flickr (Mobile Fotos), and find local movie theaters with the help of GPS (Flixster or Now Playing).

Above all, the iPhone screen and software make it a great viewing and reading device - by the far the best on the market in this category. Even the BlackBerry Storm and T-Mobile G1 (which have similar screens to the iPhone) aren't nearly as good for viewing and reading. That's because of the software - both Apple's own iPhone OS and third party applications such as Kindle.

I've gotten to the point where I usually prefer to read my mail (both Exchange and Gmail) on the iPhone, but then hop over to my BlackBerry to send replies. That's not super-convenient but it takes advantage of the strengths of the two devices.

My other motivation

There is another motivation that I've had for trying out the iPhone 3G over Wi-Fi. I'm looking to purchase a personal smartphone by July and I'll probably choose between the upcoming Palm Pre or the third generation iPhone.

I regularly go on the road for conferences and business meetings and when I travel my smartphone is my primary computing device. I have a BlackBerry Curve 8320 from T-Mobile that is my company phone. It handles my phone calls, SMS, Exchange mail, and calendar. When I'm on the road, it's like a personal assistant that tells me where to go, how to get there, who to talk to, and gives me notes on the important points I need to remember.

However, if it ever runs out of batteries or breaks then I'm in serious trouble, because it has all my scheduled meetings, contacts, and travel itineraries. So I need some redundancy (that's my IT background speaking). While I'm often testing one or two smartphones that I carry with me on the road, they don't really give me enough consistency to rely on. I need a regular backup.

The Curve is also very weak in Web browsing and as a media player, so I'd like my backup smartphone to perform those two functions - so that I don't have to carry an iPod - while also serving as my backup for Exchange mail, contacts, and calendar.

The trouble with the iPhone is ... AT&T

So it probably sounds like I'm convinced to get the iPhone, doesn't it? Actually, I'm not. I still have one major reservation, and it's not the keyboard (as I wrote last year), it's that to get the iPhone in the U.S. the only carrier is AT&T.

Over the last five years, I have used smartphones on all four major U.S. carriers - Treo 650 on Verizon, Treo 700p on Sprint, BlackBerry Curve on T-Mobile, and iPhone on AT&T - and I've traveled across the U.S. with all four of them. Verizon provided the best and most consistent performance. Sprint and T-Mobile were both serviceable. AT&T was by far the worst.

The performance of the iPhone on AT&T has been so bad that there's a pending class action lawsuit against Apple over the flaky coverage and performance.

My colleague Molly Wood, executive editor at CNET, is a frustrated San Francisco iPhone user whose experience sums up a lot of the complaints I've heard:

"I've found my AT&T connectivity on the iPhone to be the worst I've had with a cell phone provider. I'm not sure if it's the iPhone itself or AT&T's fragile Bay Area network, but when I'm sitting in my office, the phone tells me it has full bar strength and a 3G signal, but it's a complete lie. If someone calls me, they can't hear a word I'm saying, and that's assuming the phone actually rings. Most of the time I'll be sitting here with it next to me and I'll just get a voicemail notification. At my house in the Oakland hills, I vacillate between a fairly weak EDGE signal, the dreaded 'Searching ...' message, and no service.

I've definitely noticed that the iPhone's radio takes a long time to reconnect to a signal compared to other phones, so it takes a maddeningly long time to get back the weak EDGE bars. There's no chance of using the phone for actual calls at my house, so I upped my texting plan even though getting a text through is often an exercise in running out to the deck to try to get back the signal that I just dropped.

In sum, I'm paying for minutes I can't use at work or at home, I'm paying the ludicrous sum of $15 a month for 1500 text messages in the vain hope that I can inconsistently communicate with someone in the outside world sometimes, and I'm also paying for a land line because my service is so unreliable. Between that and having to use iTunes and the locked-down nature of the iPhone overall, you'd better believe I'm ready to switch to first promising phone I find, and I might not even wait for the contract to end!"

Another frustrated iPhone user in the Bay Area was GigaOm editor Om Malik. On Feb. 11, 2009, Om Malik dropped his iPhone and wrote about the experience:

"Earlier this morning, after enduring days and days of dropped calls and errant network behavior, I quit on my iPhone. It wasn't an easy decision, but it had to be done. I depend almost exclusively on my mobile phone for my communications. Whether it be surfing the web, checking email, sending text messages or talking - my mobile is the center of my daily existence.

That being said, AT&T's network just wasn't cutting it for me... Over the past few days, my iPhone was spending ungodly stretches of time "searching" for the network... The static, the dropped calls and above all the shoddy call quality were enough to raise my blood pressure... The only feature that worked flawlessly: SMS.

I love my iPhone - but AT&T's network has failed me... Anyway this morning, while conducting a phone interview, the call dropped on me twice. Enough was enough. A few minutes later, I went to T-Mobile's company store and got myself a BlackBerry Curve 8900 for email and SMS. I also signed up for a plain-vanilla voice service from Verizon Wireless...Is this an ideal solution? Probably not - but living with spotty service isn't worth the trouble."

The iPhone's poor performance on AT&T is not limited to the Bay Area. I've heard the same stories and experienced some of the same problems in my home base in the Midwest. And it even extends to the business capital of the world, New York City.

My CNET colleague Natali Del Conte in New York explains, "Living in Manhattan, I drop 3G connection when I'm moving around the city. It is pretty impossible to connect to my favorite apps... Even email is unreliable. I am crossing my fingers that 4G or the next gen iPhone software will fix this because it is just so frustrating. What is the point of so many great apps if they just keep pooping out on me?"

This kind of flakiness just doesn't cut it for a business phone. As Tony Peric of PreThinking.com wrote, "I left Sprint for the iPhone and switched back after a few days later when the iPhone crashed on me three times in one day. It is my business phone and I couldn't afford to lose calls and messages."

Bottom line

The iPhone has evolved from a breakthrough touch screen device to an extremely powerful information tool. Over the past year I've written and spoken numerous times that although the iPhone was impressive, it was highly overhyped. However, with all of the momentum building around its App Store, the iPhone is finally turning into a device that has enough substance to go with all of its style.

Unfortunately, if it remains an AT&T exclusive and AT&T doesn't get its act together and fix its network, the iPhone's great apps may not be enough for me to jump on the bandwagon. And I think many businesses and IT departments will feel the same way.

I am loving the iPhone apps even just using them over Wi-Fi, and I'd love to be able to access them anytime, anywhere. But I'm not willing to pay AT&T over a $1,000/year for spotty service. If the iPhone were on Verizon Wireless, it would be a slam dunk for me. But since the iPhone is stuck on AT&T, I may go with the Palm Pre instead.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

133 comments
NCWeber
NCWeber

Interesting comments about the curve. As far as backing up your data, what's wrong with the backup feature in the Desktop software? The latest version (4.7 as of this writing) works very smoothly. Also, I have found the Curve to be a superb media player. I use Pandora on it for music, and I have ripped DVDs to it using a combination of Handbreak and DVD43. It plays the file beautifully in both video and sound. I can only assume that since I have the 8330, there have been improvements over the 8320, but I can't imagine that there would be that drastic an improvement. I agree with you on the browser, by the way. That's why I use Opera Mini.

leanne369
leanne369

I agree 100%. I am a total Verizon fan and wouldn't even consider Iphone because of ATT - too bad.....they would be flying off the shelves at Verizon!

azriphale
azriphale

Let's get one thing straight; Apple = toy. Do yourself a favour and get the HTC TouchHD. The software has been around longer and is consequently more stable. There are far more applications out there for it. And, unlike the iPhone, you don't have to charge it everyday.

gwahib
gwahib

Has any one tried to use iPhone to Log-On corporate VPN through 3G connectivity (using Win-based VPN clients or other compatible versions for iPhone ?) and then try RemoteDesktop clients to work remotely on business applications that may not be supported by iPhone native mode ? Appreciate everybody's input.. George

kingtechpcs.com
kingtechpcs.com

I got an iPod Touch - which is identical to the iPhone, just no cellular signal or contract with AT&T. (That's the real source of the dark side.) Like the author of this article, I only use freely available Wi-Fi as an internet connection. It is simple to setup even a secure wireless network with my iPod. I just installed the Skype App on my iPod. Skype is a really neat service that allows you to make Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone calls using an Internet connection. The Skype App is FREE, to an extent. I pay $26.55 a year for unlimited calling to US and Canada. (For outgoing calls). I also got a new telephone number for my business... I pay $30/year for the phone number to receive incoming calls. 281-940-TECH (281-940-8324) They have a pretty sweet AJAX search for available numbers - I just typed different words till I found one... Oh, and my point is? I made my iPod touch into an iPhone and so far it looks like I am paying right at $56.55 for one year...

heath.totalpc
heath.totalpc

I live in Zimbabwe and I bought my iPhone 3G outright from Vodacom in South Africa for US$700. I have used in South Africa & Europe and love it. It has made by business life so much more productive. It's a pleasure to use.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

it's unit sales would soar through the roof. BUT I'm guessing the retainer on the device currently out weights any gains Apple could make (for now).

Amathar
Amathar

Molly's experience sounds eerily similar to my own experience with Optus in Australia. Weak signal regardless of the indicated signal strength, dropped calls, failed connections, lost SMS messages, the list goes on. After 3 months (I kid you not) of consistent buck passing, inter-departmental hopscotch and an increasing amount of yelling, we convinced Optus to replace our iPhones. After a month or so, they finally managed to get us iPhones that matched our original configurations. We still occasionally have the same issues, but at about 5% the rate we originally saw. I adore my iPhone. Optus can go to hell. If not for the thoroughly evil practice of contract lock-in, we'd be long, long gone to another network (even a reseller). I'd like to add, whilst I have your attention, that Optus have by far the worst support of any company I've dealt with - bar none.

programit
programit

In Australia the COST is the problem. Telstra, charge excess of $120 /month for 2Gig on an IPhone over 2 years (When their 3G network actually works properly, and their speed is beyond a crawl), , and the exorbitant ongoing costs are a joke if you use ANY services. The other carriers are cheaper by a small amount, but still over the top for the coverage, performance etc. 2nd Problem is its built by Apple. Its the iTunes and associated software that infects the system that I avoid. (Worse than MS) (At work iTunes etc is not permitted on ANY work system for security and stability issues.) We're waiting for a decent Android phone to be made available in Australia as software is currently being developed for us to suit this platform in the coming years.

jpdecesare
jpdecesare

Verizon was approached FIRST by Apple, and in typical Verizon fashion, they said "Sure, but you can't do THIS and you can't do THAT" to Apple. NO ONE here can stand behind Verizon's RIDICULOUS policies of locking down hardware, and that's what they told Apple they would do. AT&T said, "sure, do whatever you want, and we'll even change our voicemail system to accomodate your Visual Voicemail, Apple". I'm so glad Verizon doesn't host the iPhone, it would become a declawed cat. And I'd lose my rollover minutes too...

Belkris
Belkris

I have had my iPhone for 6 months and I'm hooked. On telstra 3G it works flawlessly.

Boib2ed
Boib2ed

I suggest any iPhone owner with connectivity or battery problems disable the 3G ability when you are not using it. It will cut your battery life in half and ruin your reception. Put it on Edge, and you'll get service as good as any other network. I realize this thought is absolutely horrifying to all those people who waited for 3G just to get the bandwidth--but it's a fact of life, the 3G network is just irritating at this point. My wife has a non-iPhone AT&T phone and can't disable 3G, she gets 1/2 the battery life, dropped calls, no connectivity, calls straight to voice mail and all-around poor connectivity, and all the while I'm standing behind her with my iPhone set to Edge and am getting absolutely perfect reception. I suppose if you prefer you're welcome to stomp around and bitch about how horrific AT&T is because you're not getting that 3G pipe you waited/paid for, but if you do so--remember that it's your choice, just a simple flick and it could all be better.

ceo
ceo

It works fine with Telcel in Monterrey, Mexico

jeffsm2005
jeffsm2005

I use iPod Touch and a cell fone, and iPod Touch with their powerfull apps is my best PDA that I ever had. The power don't come from Apple but from the 10.000 apps available in the AppStore even in my natural language there are a lots of killer apps. The iTunes desktop app is so awful as Microsoft apps for end users. If not engough clear: the success to iPod Touch/iPhone apps don't come directaly from Apple.

josh.sanchez
josh.sanchez

Have been an AT&T/Cingular for more than 5 years. I've never had a problem with their coverage here in the Northern Virginia/Metro DC area, nor NYC or Boston. I love my iPhone. I think most of the commenters here are just Apple haters.

smartcd
smartcd

The fatal flaws remain 1) no auto-synched Outlook Tasks list or Notes, and 2) flaky calendar display, invite system, and reminders, 3)no cut-and-paste. iPhone remains a wonderful toy, but just doesn't make it as a business tool. It continues to fail me in embarrassing ways.

Erwal
Erwal

Here in Holland the iPhone is only on T-mobile. Same problems with louzy 3G coverage here... Seems Apple's got a talent in choosing the telco with the worst network.

robb.good
robb.good

AT&T is the problem where I live and that is why I decided to have the best of both worlds. I bought an Ipod touch and kept my verizon cell phone. The ipod touch does just about everything the Iphone does, except make phone calls. I just have to rely on finding a Wi-Fi connection when I really need to read email. Lucky for me there is a starbucks on every corner around here.

chris
chris

I know you're not tech support, but how are you getting exchange mail with your blackberry? mine only seems to allow OWA access which is mail, but weak for a device like this

mikeb_in Colo.
mikeb_in Colo.

Have you tried the Google G1 from T-mobile? I use it for work and the Market has the apps you list above. Plus, I use RoadSync to get my Exchange email and it's great. Would love for you to test this device and see if you like it as much as those of us who use it.

jpdecesare
jpdecesare

Here in Cincinnati, Verizon service drove me NUTS. Voicemails shoing up 3 days later, texts not getting through, bars dropping in an out, calls failing, you NAME it. And this wasn't an isolated issue, most people I know with Verizon have the same complaints. In my house, we all switched to iPhones in December, and the AT&T service has been no short of stellar... full 3G bars everywhere in the tri-state area, even in the steel hallways of the semiconductor plant I work for. I honestly forget that I'm on a cellphone (ha, calling the iPhone a cellphone is like calling the Shuttle an airplane). Pete's sake, folks, give AT&T some TIME to get the 3G infrastructure built. They're sinking $19B into it this year, it doesn't happen overnight.

rws0205
rws0205

I use my cell phone mostly for outgoing emergency calls, ie not at all. I get almost no coverage at home, which is very close to the expressway in a major city, and a few weeks ago I was at a family reunion and had the same sort of coverage. None inside the building. I mentioned this to one of my cousins, and she said that she had 5 bars with Verizon. Both my home and the clubhouse are within 1000 feet of an expressway. You should not have to go outside to use your phone. I don't know if Verizon is better than ATT and MetroPCS at my home though.

Steve Romero
Steve Romero

Good post Jason. My wife, my son and I have all been on the 3G since its release. We all love the phone - due to the apps. My son rarely uses the phone, and my wife has had "good enough" service in the S.F. Bay Area. I on the other hand, have had an awful experience when it comes to connectivity and phone calls. I travel extensively and I don't count on good service anywhere. I too love the apps, and it is a good thing. There are days when I land and I don't get a signal till I walk into baggage claim. This was never an unknown for us. We accepted the AT&T issue out of the gate, with the so-far-mistaken assumption that the carrier service delivery would quickly improve. Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist http://community.ca.com/blogs/theitgovernanceevangelist/

phantom
phantom

Here in Europe,(Ireland and UK) we also have a cheap and nasty service from the "exclusive" iPhone supplier. However I made a discovery that made everything OK! Europe is meant to be a collection of countries sharing a single market on equal terms. Not quite! In the case of iPhones, Germany and Italy took a different view. Their courts forbade "exclusivity" of service for iPhones. Consequently it is possible to purchase the iPhone SIM free and choose your own carrier. Here in Ireland, I was stuck with O2 if I wanted an iPhone. I was not prepared to suffer the O2 service just to own an iPhone. The solution? I had a friend go into a shop in Italy, buy one over the counter an mail it to me. Now I operate my iPhone on my chosen service without these stupid restrictions. I don't know if there are any technical reasons why this would not work for you guys in the US, but it might be worth a look! Best wishes to all, from Dublin Ireland.

msmith
msmith

Agree 100%. I did switch to an iPhone, but had to return it 30 days later because of LOUSY AT&T service. I'm back on Verizon with my trust (but boring) Q, and the service works great. iPhone on Verizon would be amazing.

george
george

I had T-Mobile for 3 years and when I moved I couldn't get a signal in my apt. for the last 2 years. It was awful. A month ago we switched to iPhone and AT&T and it's been perfect. We get all 5 bars of coverage! The apps we have found are very useful too. It's like a hand held computer. I've been a PC guy all my life, so using an Apple device is definitely like going to the dark side. I have always hated Apple's smug superiority complex, but this iPhone rocks! I also found a site to download Apps without paying for every one of them. It's located at: http://www.smartappsdownloader.com/80333

shandleman
shandleman

Jason, You said that you read your mail on the iPhone and then reply on your Blackberry. Why not reply from the iPhone? Is it the keyboard?

Tony K
Tony K

My iPhone has gotten better reception than any other phone I've had in the last 5 years (and I've been on every carrier in that time for work). Even at my in-laws where I would typically get no service except Verizon (and that was spotty), I get four bars on my iPhone. Everywhere else, I find the call quality of my iPhone to be equal to a land line. I have NEVER had a dropped call in the 7 months I've had it. I haven't been to NYC in that time, though. :) In Philadelphia, however, I've never experienced an issue, so maybe it's just NYC... The iPhone's the only smartphone I've found that a) actually lives up to the name and b) something I've wanted to keep. I love the flexibility and ease, and while I'm looking forward to the new models in June, the rumors I've heard haven't convinced me there's enough reason to upgrade when they come out. Although, the magnetometer DOES offer some potential that I'd like to see implemented. Oh, and the keyboard's fine. The autocorrect is more than adequate to catch the few mistakes I make after months of using it. Can I type as fast as I can on a desktop? No, I type over a hundred words per minute on a regular keyboard. But, I can't complain about my speed on my phone...

Peconet Tietokoneet
Peconet Tietokoneet

But the names of the software are different, but similar to your list, but with out getting the iphone and being attached to AT&T's network. Oh my Nokia is E90 communicator. :)

mhbowman
mhbowman

I wouldn't leave Verizon. Further, obviously Apple has a great product, so why would they limit themselves to one network? Having said that the latest offering from Verizon, the Blackberry Storm, looks pretty impressive. One of my coworkers had been with Verizon for years managed to talk his way into VIP status by saying he was thinking of getting an iPhone. The status change allowed him to get the Storm for $99. He added that while he still thought the iPhone was a little "slicker" than the Storm it was worth it to stay with Verizon.

gatorgal615
gatorgal615

Can anyone tell me what apps are now available on the iPhone that are not available on the Blackberry?

AWolfe_II
AWolfe_II

I live ten miles north of Boston and use my iPhone nonstop. I have few drop-outs and lately 3G data seems to have gotten faster.

paul.mclaughlin
paul.mclaughlin

In the UK the only provider is O2. It seems more stable than your problems with AT&T. However we don;t use it as a real business tool. It does seem that alternative carriers may help. I love the iphone cos it's so easy to use but it's not perfect. P'raps the new OS will fix some of the errors. It won't be available here in the UK till Sept(?) so I await comments! Thanks. Paul McLaughlin

highermath
highermath

Last year, my wife and I got T-Mobile G-1s to replace my Sprint Blackberry 8820 and her ??? It was pretty clear that the service here in one of the biggest cities in the world was terrible. I stuck with it, because I was interested in the platform, and she switch to an iPhone. My T-Mobile service still sucks, while hers is quite good, particularly for data. On T-Mobile, even when it shows 3g availability, it drops to EVDO right after connecting.

cant_drive_55
cant_drive_55

I really, really want an iPhone, but the thought of AT&T creeps me out. I just drove 200 miles with my notebook in my car hooked to Verizon's EVDO network, listening to a training audio from a streaming-only site. Never lost the connection. The iPhone apps are SO compelling. I have thought about iPod Touch, but I REALLY want the camera so that I can bring my TOTAL mobile experience to one pocket... Twitter, Evernote, and other apps that need or are enhanced by a camera. Oddly, my Verizon XV6800 (HTC) phone that I upgraded to WM6.1 is actually pretty damn stable now since the upgrade. The camera is a genuine piece of #$%&, but other than that, it is a great phone and integrates tightly with our Exchange platform. Randy

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I agree, juts lik ethe i-Pod, it PALED compared to competetive models from Samsung. The sound is horrible, the proprietary battery is a complete joke, even i-Tunes is a garbage system for uploading half arsed quality music to it. Apples are for kids. As for HTC, I have yet to see a device that even comes NEAR it as far as functionality and usability. My HTC P4000 is amazing, talk about a power users phone, and even today it is light years ahead of where Apple's will be 10 years from now.

Fireboss
Fireboss

The HTC Touch (Fuze for ATT folks) is a great little phone. Just this week CNet finally came out and said the iPhone sux (see http://cnettv.cnet.com/?tag=hdr%3bbrandnav the video is in the list below) They blame ATT of course but since the iPhone IS ATT that sort of makes them inseparable. I added SPB mobile suite and love the look feel and use of Office on it. BTW if you a ATT Premier guy they will give you a refurb fuze with a new contract.

hforman
hforman

We originally told our Execs who wanted their corporate email on iPhones that they would have to use VPN to get through. The iPhone has VPN built-in! (You may or may not find the remote desktop client though.) We also told them that meant that any time the signal drops (Elevator, car travel, airplanes, etc.) the user would have to enter their password from their RSA token. Not fun. They did not want to go that way until we found that, using an IAS server, they were able to sync through an OWA interface between the IAS and the Exchange server. So, you may want to think about these issues when proposing VPN and even moreso before looking for a Remote Desktop app.

tfg56
tfg56

I routinely use my iPhone to log-on to our Win server using the WinAdmin app and VPN. I then connect to any client workstation and run any software on the remote just like I would do if I was using any other computer. I am just a terminal on the host computer. You can use the Apple zoom function on the iPhone to better see a part of the remote desktop if necessary. I find the iPhone very handy to do a quick check on server logs, etc. when necessary. Hope this helps you.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

I downloaded a RDP app and it worked pretty good when connected wi-fi to the LAN. But the right click functions are not there, so it was a little hard to do some things. The problem came when trying to get a VPN working. The iphone has a built in VPN but it will not work with all firewalls. In the case of my Sonicwall it does not. I have not looked to see if there are iPhone apps that provide VPN functionality but I doubt one will work with my firewall. PS. Forgive any typos. This was composed on my iPhone and the typing is NOT precise.

hforman
hforman

Having been a long-term BlackBerry user, their system is great for dealing with email because the mail is all queues up in Canada and there is no direct connection between you mail server and the BlackBerry phone. I did some reading on the iPhone and they require the same things Microsoft uses in their mobile solution. You have to have an Edge Connector (Exchange) machine out on the Internet or in the DMZ. Many companies do not allow that. If you can read your office mail from home using Outlook with no VPN connection, you may have a chance. When I changed departments, they wanted to use the iPhone and I knew it would be a lot of trouble as they were not going to allow us to place a server on the Internet. Fortunately, someone else got the task. There was a lot of political strife going on and the powers that be allowed an opening via way of an IAS server but only to be able to use OWA. Bottom line: Find out if you can have an Exchange Edge server out on the Internet before thinking about Microsoft or iPhone mobile technology. Otherwise, go with a BlackBerry solution (Bold or Storm?). Just my opinion.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

(BlackBerry Enterprise Server). You can also get BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) for small businesses.

possmann
possmann

That ideally would be the best approach - however it seems that too often business here in the US is run the opposite - promise it, sell it and then build out the rest of it to catch up with what I promised to sell before everyone gets really pissed and jumps ship. What ever happened to delivering quality at the point of sale? I would love to see a world standard GSM network be as reliable as the CDMA network however we are no where close to that yet in many places. Until then sell me what you know is going to work - not what you know will work in a few months

paul.mclaughlin
paul.mclaughlin

In the UK the only provider is O2. It seems more stable than your problems with AT&T. However we don;t use it as a real business tool. It does seem that alternative carriers may help. I love the iphone cos it's so easy to use but it's not perfect. P'raps the new OS will fix some of the errors. It won't be available here in the UK till Sept(?) so I await comments! Thanks. Paul McLaughlin

smokeybehr
smokeybehr

EVDO is CDMA, and T-Mobile is a GSM network. Do you mean EDGE or GPRS? Re: The iPhone: AT&T is my only reason as well for not getting one. I've been screwed by every iteration of AT&T from the the original AT&T through Cingular Orange and now the new AT&T. My girlfriend was hosed by Cingular when they bought the AT&T TDMA network (Cingular Blue) and tried forcing her to switch to the Cingular Orange network. They turned the Blue net into a bastard stepchild and began reducing the service and support until there was nothing left. We're both on T-Mobile and couldn't be happier. I'll stick with my BB8700 until TMO gets the BB Bold or the iPhone. Otherwise, I'll be getting an iPod Touch.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I've run into a few hiccups on Verizon, but it's really solid and the definitely best we've got in the U.S. - Verizon knows how to build networks AND it seems to have the best backhaul, which makes a big difference on these 3G/4G networks.

debuggist
debuggist

The iPod Touch and Nano are possibly getting a camera this fall.

JohnnyMac64
JohnnyMac64

I noticed while playing with my son's ipod touch that there was no way to get to any options in any of the software apps he has unlike my BB Storm that has a dedicated options button. The least Apple could do with the software is if you press to click, but hold for a second, it would register as a right-click. Perhaps it stems from Apple's distain for more than one button on a mouse. At least their pc's have dedicated "apple" buttons on their keyboards to perform extra functions. the ipod/iphone need one too.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

With BIS you do get your email, but the read/delete status is not reflected to your Exchange Inbox. To me that is useless, I don't want to have to act on emails twice. Also I seem to remember that BIS will not do Calendar or Contacts. To do those without the BES you have to dock/sync.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Verizon is so abusive of their dominant position in the industry, as far as the levels to which they cripple their phones and otherwise abuse their customers, that I'd rather see Apple remain with AT&T. For example, crippling Blue Tooth and GPS and requiring monthly fees to activate those features when they are hardware enabled - is unethical. Verizon gets away with it because "It's the network". They've backed off a bit in the last couple of years, but not enough. When did companies begin retaining customers by not being the most admired company, but by being the less hated?

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