The new iPhone operating system announced Tuesday has some features that should make enterprise users happy, but it lacks others that could have made the iPhone far more enticing to businesses.
Push, cut and paste, integrated maps and enhanced calendar synch could all help to make iPhone users more productive at work. But administrators and enterprise application developers were hoping for a couple more capabilities that did not appear, namely background processing and device management tools.
The push capability is one of the most interesting for enterprise application developers, said Senthil Krishnapillai, director of product management for Sybase's enterprise mobility group. It could allow Sybase, which has a partnership with SAP, to push CRM (customer relationship management) notifications to iPhone users.
For example, a potential sales lead could call in to a main office and the lead could be pushed out to a sales person in the field for immediate attention, he said.
"We still need to understand what this means from a scalability perspective, but we're excited about this as a long-promised feature," he said.
He's also pleased with the capability that will allow developers to offer updates within applications. "That would help us provide additional capabilities to applications without having to go to the App Store and go through the whole process," Krishnapillai said.
The iPhone 3.0 software will also allow maps to be included in other applications on the phone, which could prove useful to many businesses. For example, engineers at Herrera Environmental Consultants use iPhones and would find an application useful that would let them take photos that are automatically tagged with a location, said Stuart Maxwell, an IT manager at Herrera.
He's also interested to see what kinds of applications take advantage of the push capability. Adding push to an application like Yammer, a collaboration and communication tool for business users that is a cross between IM and Twitter, could be useful.
"I've been playing with the idea of introducing Yammer into this office, and I think the usefulness would increase if certain messages were passed immediately to people who are working on a project," he said.