Apple has finally said it is ready to turn the iPhone into a business by announcing that it has licensed protocols from Microsoft that would allow the device to support Exchange. In addition, Apple has said that it had made a software developer kit (SDK) available for third party developers.
However, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the two new functions would not be added to the iPhone until June.
"We're building Exchange support so you get push e-mail, push calendaring, push contacts, global address lists and the ability to remote wipe [the iPhone]," said Phil Schiller, the head of Apple's marketing.
No new applications need to be added to the iPhone, Schiller said, because messages, appointments and contacts transferred from a company's Exchange mail server will end up in the iPhone's existing e-mail, calendar and address book apps. "The same e-mail app, calendar app and contact apps that customers really love will get information directly from the Exchange server," said Schiller.
A few enterprises have been testing the new Exchange support, Schiller said, citing both Walt Disney and Nike as early test sites. "I think when we release these features people will be blown away that the iPhone is the best mobile device ever in enterprise," he added.
Another company official, Scott Forstall, who heads the iPhone software group, touted the SDK that Apple is releasing in beta form today to developers. "Third-party developers can build native iPhone applications using the same SDK that we do," said Forstall.