iPhone

What enterprise IT needs to know about iPhone 4

In his WWDC 2010 keynote, Steve Jobs cited "much deeper enterprise integration" as one of the major improvements in Apple's iPhone 4. Learn why.

In his WWDC 2010 keynote announcing the iPhone 4, Steve Jobs cited "much deeper enterprise integration" as one of the top features of Apple's fourth generation smartphone. Jobs took several minutes to talk about the improvements aimed at businesses.

Here's the slide Jobs showed when he talked about the enterprise.

And, here's what Jobs said during his presentation:

"We got a lot of requests, and our enterprise customers are thrilled because we got all of that stuff into iOS 4--much better data protection, device management, they can wirelessly distribute apps around the enterprise, multiple Exchange [account] support, deeper VPN support. Our enterprise customers seem really, really excited about iOS 4."

After the event, Apple provided more details about the enterprise improvements with iPhone 4. Here are quotes from Apple on each of the issues:

  • Data protection - "New data protection APIs can be used for custom and commercial apps so that business-critical information is protected even if a device is compromised."
  • Mobile device management - "New Mobile Device Management APIs can be integrated with third-party solutions to wirelessly configure and update settings, monitor compliance with corporate policies, and even wipe or lock managed iPhone devices."
  • Wireless app distribution - "Securely host and wirelessly distribute in-house apps to employees over Wi-Fi and 3G. Apps can be updated without requiring users to connect to their computers."
  • SSL VPN support - "Connect seamlessly to a corporate network via VPN on Demand. Forthcoming apps from Juniper and Cisco will support SSL VPN on iPhone."
  • Mail improvements - "Set up multiple Exchange ActiveSync accounts and now works with Exchange Server 2010. With the new unified inbox feature, users can see messages from all their email accounts conveniently displayed in a single inbox... If users receive an attachment that they want to save or edit, Mail now lets you open attachments with compatible apps from the App Store."

Beyond the features that Apple cited, there are a few other iPhone 4 upgrades that could also impact businesses:

  • Better battery life - This is critical. The iPhone needs to be able to get through a full business day without a recharge in order to be the device for true road warriors, and that's not always the case with the iPhone 3GS and previous models. Apple has made improvements, but will it be enough? Check out my article iPhone 4 battery life: How much is Apple promising?
  • Multitasking - Being able to quickly flip between email and Web pages or between an IM conversation and a business dashboard app are examples of the kind of multitasking functionality that business users want. The iPhone 4 finally catches up to Android and Palm Pre in this department.
  • Tethering - This feature is big for highly mobile professionals. Tethering has been available in other countries, but it's finally coming to the U.S. for the first time now that AT&T is on board. However, AT&T's new data plans could limit its usefulness.
  • Improved camera - In some industries such as real estate, the phone camera is a critical business feature. Apple has added a digital zoom, LED flash, and upped the megapixels from 3 to 5.

For those enterprises approaching the iPhone for the first time, here are three Apple links that haven't been fully updated for iPhone 4 yet, but can still help IT pros in evaluating whether the iPhone will meet their needs.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

27 comments
wolfshades
wolfshades

The ones with the technical knowledge - generally the readers and commenters here - aren't usually the ones making the final decisions. So some high up CEO sees Job's presentation of this cool new toy, and we tell him the Blackberry is a better value, and is more secure and has a better battery, etc. etc. - it may mean nothing to him. Ultimately the shine, and the cool factor will in many cases win out. That's the bottom line here. So in many cases, our job will be to make sure the decision makers are educated, and to ensure that we set up the best security possible. It's CYA time, kids.

mjstelly
mjstelly

Aside from the early adopter fanboy enthusiasm, businesses will ask one question before taking the plunge, "what value will iPhone 4 add to my business that cannot be achieved through existing, mature platforms?" Uh, um, well... nothing that I can see. Don't get me wrong, my iPhone 3GS is an integral part of my daily life, but only as a consumer device, not as an enterprise productivity tool. Tethering, Outlook integration, multitasking? Old news. Improved camera? Who cares except for a niche market or two. Better battery life, in-house app development and distribution? Bout damn time, I say. None of these ideas are revolutionary or even evolutionary. They're reactionary. Businesses are saying, "what the hell do you mean i can't build in-house apps or i can only distribute through the app store?" Now Apple says you can? That's reactionary and it's a poor way to manage disruptive technology. The iPhone gave Apple the edge over Microsoft. They're letting that edge slip away to Google (Microsoft remains clueless) through passing device fixes off as features.

sanjay.patil
sanjay.patil

Re. Tethering, I thought that was already available with Blackberry/Verison combination, am I missing something?

klapper
klapper

Anyone know if the support for multiple Exchange accounts over ActiveSync also includes Calendars and Contacts or only email? Thanks, Steve

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

The ipad security breach is proof of this http://gawker.com/5559346/ These toys need to be left at home. I would never allow my company's data to be stored on one of these devices. We will stick with Blackberry. Although they are not the latest flashy device and consumer fad, they WORK and are secure.

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

It going to be interesting to see if the UK inventers of the IPod will be wanting a slice of the action off Apple...

wolfshades
wolfshades

Executives will discover and use various rationalizations but ultimately the genius of the iPhone engineering, coupled with such things as music and video playback (with the requisite storage), and face to face video calls will be the deciding factor in many cases. Understand that these aren't *necessary* or required for business needs (did they have the same needs last year?), but they'll find a way to rationalize the organization going away from Blackberry and over to the iPhone. I don't blame them, really. The marketing job on this is phenomenal (the fact that I own myself, for personal and not corporate use probably feeds into my perception). Who wouldn't want one of these? Frankly though: the security requirements of our organization preclude our moving to the iPhone just yet, and that's an overriding concern that RIM just happens to meet. This won't negate executive pressures to adopt the iPhone though. It's just cooler.

ShockMe
ShockMe

I think it is a mistake to dismiss any considerations outside your discipline as "cool factor". As Blackberry doesn't yet make a tablet device, your recommendation will mean little. As you suggest, it may be time to balance IT support requirements with other considerations such as ease of training, specialized app support for your business area such as apps for sales and marketing, news, production monitoring, inventory reporting and tracking, order taking and fulfillment, operations, marine navigation and transportation. It's not just about word processors, web surfing, and email anymore

hfvienna
hfvienna

Here we have it again , same mistake over and over . Business users are people who like to work with their phone or not , so they will use it - for benefit of business too of course - or avoid to use it. I still wonder why so many companies dont get it : The 100 dollars/euros they save with a cheap phone are eaten weekly by time spent to get the website appearing or connect to other services , looking for disappeared documents , tying to decipher bad pictures or what . It is really ridiculous to see valuable service technicians or managers using their cheapo E52 , because thats "the company phone" instead of giving them a fast usable phone to save time in calling back , looking up something on web or making pictures , which can be used later too .

ShockMe
ShockMe

...to customers of ATT here in the US. Tethering has been part of iOS 3 since last June. The new data plans DO suck for new customers. Previous customers on the unlimited data plan can upgrade to iPhone 4 at the end of their contracts. What really remains unannounced is official support for using the iPhone as a WiFi hotspot. This has been a staple of the iPhone's vibrant jailbreak community for 2 years or more. As my post-paid contract was converted from pre-paid a year ago I will defer my purchase of the iPhone 4 until I can upgrade and remain on the unlimited plan. In the mean time I'll use my Spring Overdrive as a replacement for my laptop's 3G connection. This is about the same as switching to EVO but I can retain all my existing apps.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... but AT&T disabled the ability, apparently due to fears of their network being flooded by data demands. Yes, Blackberry and others have had tethering for a couple of years now--maybe longer. Apple has tried to include it, but until now, AT&T resisted. Don't blame Apple for AT&T's problems.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

on Blackberry devices for ages. People just tend to forget that just because it's a new feature on the iphone doesn't mean that it hasn't existed on other devices. I remember tethering with a Motorola Timeport flip phone. If apple ever comes out with an iphone with a replaceable battery, it will be advertised as new and revolutionary and all the apple fan boys will be all "OMG it's revolutionary! A replaceable battery, someone should have thought of this before!!"

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Gawker's report puts the blame on Apple, but if you really read the article, it was an AT&T database that was compromised. If you have to blame somebody, blame Ma Bell, as it were.

ShockMe
ShockMe

There are really two categories of features that get the most attention that perhaps shouldn't. The first is email because nearly all employees have one. The second category are tools that make IT's job easier to manage. I think the most important feature is the enterprise deployment of internal apps. Not all of our employees are sitting at desks for 8 hours a day. Devices such as the iPhone and iPad allow us to build custom apps for narrow distribution. One unit in my company manages installation of equipment at remote locations. We track equipment delivered by our vendors, payments to local contractors, site inspections, installation progress reports, hazard material incident reports, network testing tools, and a dozen other things that are too specialized for a more general developer to take time for. My boss came in one day and said make it do more for us. I have to say that was much more satisfying than reporting who was attempting to download porn.

ShockMe
ShockMe

It just isn't the ONLY factor. We issue monthly stipends for iPhones our employees purchase for their own use if it is used for company business also. We've a small set of proprietary applications we serve through our provisioning system and we have discounts with a case provider for those involved in more outdoor-type tasks. The iPad is the one device that has experienced the most growth in our company especially in inventory control. But I think you are correct about the cool factor with respect to members of the management team who only ever really needed Outlook, Excel, Project, and Word. Microsoft could make a killing with those guys if t hey ever decide to support iPad.

tech727
tech727

Ultimately IT's role has little to do with saving $$$'s, and the iPhone saves it for corporations right now. If Joe Salesman and the force around him can get by with an iPhone instead of a new computer this calendar year, it saves the company thousands of $$'s. That's the kind of decision you will see being made for the existing iPhone, not to mention the new iPhone iOS 4. iPhones are about organization and fun, and people interacting, not just a business model with sterile features, as many here have suggested business is all about only that. You are so wrong, and just watch iPhone 4 get adopted in huge numbers by business this year, IT be danged... Deal with it!

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

Is the only valuable phone and device worth owning. Or the only device consumers are interested in using. Well you are wrong. I can accomplish anything an iphone can do and more with my blackberry and do it faster. And I am not tied to a big brother app store when it comes to installing apps. I could develop my own if I wanted and wouldn't need apple's approval to distribute it.

rhonin
rhonin

Ask anyone who has jb thier iPhone and turned on the tethering function. It seriously eats through a battery. This would highlight the "enclosed" battery issue detracting from the perceived user account for this device. I can see Apple not wanting this "activated" until they found a better tuned solution. As it is, you can only tether one device with the 4. wow......

scott.warren
scott.warren

While yes it this has been limited by AT&T it is still an Apple problem because they have chosen to limit the iPhone to AT&T. When you choose to place such limits then you should accept the blame for the failures of those limitations.

yobtaf
yobtaf

That says it all.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've been following over on ISC and a few other new sites. While it was not apple's devices that where breach directly. It sure does highlight a problem with the thinclient/webapp model they are pushing so hard right now. Everybody wants the new shiny thingy, nobody wants to think about how safe there data actually is in the hands of a third party who's core business is not data protection and who has nothing to loose personally when your data walks out the door. This does not apply to Ithingies only but the thinclient model that ChromeOS will soon join in to also promote.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

Device encryption can be cracked in under 5 minutes and all data on the device can be stolen. And the SMS vulnerability that allowed malicious software to be ran are just 2 examples of why I would never allow these devices on my network. How many more unidentified security flaws exist on the iphone? I require devices that have a long track record of security.

rhonin
rhonin

I think you really need to define your statement with the area of business you see as "adopting" the iPhone. and especially when it comes to replacing a notebook for function. Large corps with security concerns, the need to digitally or electronically sign documents, confidential emails, etc... will not be investing in the iPhone as a replacement device. For standard email/calendar handling - maybe. Then there is the major concern that Apple requires specific access to do what they want when they want to these devices. A serious corporate no-no from several areas (sox, regulatory, validation, compliance..). For use as an email/calendar viewer - okay. Beyond that? Please clarify. Thanks!

hfvienna
hfvienna

We apologize for any inconvenience that may have damaged your specific preconception? I am using an iPhone and a Blackberry too , but daily usage is just so much more convenient on iPhone , even Blackberry phones are having big merits too. But this was not the point. What I am talking about is , that there is no business user or residantial user, its just about persons using a Phone which is easy or more uncomfortable in all use cases.

travis.duffy
travis.duffy

Recently security has taken a back seat to what is new, cool and the latest fad. Google android is no different. If this were a thread on an android phone I would be making the same points.