As you probably know, Apple held a special event yesterday to discuss its plans for version 3 of its iPhone OS. As usual, speculation was rampant with people all around the web even posting their predictions on YouTube.
I wasn't able to actually listen in on the live event - funny how other meetings can get in the way, but there's been enough coverage of the announcements that I can still come away from the event feeling as if Apple still does not understand (or care for) the world of enterprise mobility.
Among the myriad improvements discuss, there were a couple of announcements that I found most encouraging:
- Apple is going to open up an additional 1,000 APIs - always a good thing in terms of allowing developers to create new and innovative applications;
- The keyboard will be available in landscape mode for (among others) the mail application. YAY!!! I can't type to save my life in landscape mode. I also hope they improve the mail application in general - specifically in terms of folder management;
Push services will finally be available - only six months behind, but I guess better late than never.
The real reason (and to his credit, he talked about it) is that power consumption would go through the roof. In his example, running an IM client in the background drained the battery such that standby time dropped over 80%. Wow - can you imagine only getting 3 hours standby time on your iPhone??? It's bad enough as it is, but that would be horrible! So how do other platforms handle it? Even Windows Mobile, for all the gripes people have with its battery drain, can do it very easily.
This makes me wonder just how solid or robust the iPhone OS is as compared to the other major platforms out there. Don't forget, the core of the iPhone OS comes from MacOS X - which is made for computers...not mobile phones. This should make David Wood smile.
But back to Forstall's comment. How on earth can background applications be BAD for the customer? Mail runs in the background (granted, it's using Push) but so does the iPod app and that doesn't really kill the battery (granted, it's not on ALL the time, but still). The point is that - from an enterprise perspective - no background apps means that mobility management companies will still not be able to truly create applications that they already have on Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian and even Android to allow IT departments to manage mobile devices. Sure, some companies have been able to manage the iPhone via ActiveSync and that's an incredibly important step in the right direction, but that's not going to provide a full suite of MDM capabilities. This will also prevent enterprise grade application management, service management and limit security options.
Side note, this iPhone OS 3.0 annoucement was considered by many in the media to be a response to Palm's webOS. It's really interesting because everyone knows that Palm has its sights set on the iPhone. Only thing is that
- Version 1.0 of the webOS will have ActiveSync support, something the iPhone only got at 2.0 and
- The webOS will support background apps....and I am guessing the battery will last more than 3 hours on a charge.
So from the start, the Pre will be (in theory) enterprise ready while Apple will continue using its Reality Distortion Field to tell us that background apps are bad for the consumer.
In conclusion, let me once again go on the record and say that until Apple finds a way to allow background apps to exist without killing your battery, you can NOT consider the iPhone to be enterprise ready but must instead think of it simply as business ready. Unless you're Gartner of course...
UPDATE: Check out this post that corroborates my thoughts...