I’m sure many of you out there got iPhones over the Holidays, just like David did. Rich finally joined the iranks, but he went the iPod touch route, an interesting choice, all the cool features, minus the uncool AT&T and the molasses-in- January slow Edge network.
This blog has become an iPhone resource for Oracle people. I routinely get several emails each week about the internal wiki I started to collect Oracle-specific tips and tricks like how to connect to the corporate wireless network, or how to set up the mail app for our corporate email. That post continues to get traffic and ranks 11th among posts.
I’ve been thinking about a follow up since Forrester declared the iPhone unready for enterprise use. I don’t disagree with the claims that Forrester makes, but they only apply if you expect your iPhone to do all manner of business stuff OOTB. There are some interesting things going on here.
- Early adopters of the iPhone have been largely willing to test out jailbreaks and hacks to extend the feature set of the device. The time between an Apple firmware update and the resulting hack to restore all the tweaks seems to get shorter with every iteration.
- The cost of the devices target them more at working people, who are attracted to the portability of the device. These people want to check email and calendars everywhere because that’s what work has become.
- People shelling out cash for a sweet device want it to do what they want; when it doesn’t, they’re likely to find ways to make it do that. So, modding the iPhone is a way to tell Apple to get with the third party apps already.
- The iPhone is cool enough to get people to buy it even if it doesn’t do every last thing they want. The wiki we have is an example. Our corporate calendar doesn’t work natively with iCal on the iPhone, but someone figured out to make it work with SyncML.This requires a jailbreak, and the only reason I’ve waited is because firmware 1.1.3 is rumored to do some nasty things to jailbroken iPhones.
All this means that more people will use iPhones for work, simply because they can. I find myself doing email and tweeting pretty much every time I have a second of downtime. I hate waiting, so I fill those moments with the iPhone.
And it keeps getting easier as web sites launch iPhone versions; I’ve mentioned before that Twitter and Facebook have mobile/ iPhone versions. Google recently deployed a mobile/iPhone version of all its properties. Now, so does this blog. Rich installed the WordPress plugin to enable an iPhone version of the management tools. although I can’t imagine writing a post with the soft keyboard.
Plus, version 1.1.3 sets the stage for third party apps. You should check out this video (or this rundown) of its new features; some question its authenticity, but it looks real (and really cool) to me. Apple did promise a developer kit by February too.
All this demand will force better support. So, as with other disruptive technology, IT will be faced with new issues, which seems to be par for the course lately. I expect someone will take a lead in deploying business apps to iPhones in 2008, but I doubt it will be Apple or any of the usual enterprise software suspects.
Back to Rich and his iPod touch. Companies like Jajah have made VoIP a reality for iPhone/iPod touch, so now having AT&T or other carrier is a moot point. Sure, you still need wi-fi, but wi-fi is in a lot more places now, e.g. Avis rental cars, hospitals and coming soon to airplanes.
Update: Frederik from Jajah has informed me in comments that you don’t in fact need wi-fi, and Jajah works just fine over the Edge network. So, iPhone pwns iPod touch in that department.
My advice, get an iPhone already. It’s only going to get cooler.
Update: The subject of loads of online rumors, 1.1.3 is also said to have copy-paste included, but not all the other neat stuff shown in the Gear Live video.