Friday, 8 February 2008

iPhone for business use

Not entirely an ECM topic, but to be honest I am getting a tad weary of reading analysts and pundits putting the iPhone down and saying it can't be used for 'business' because it does not have 3G etc, so I have decided to blurt out my thoughts on the subject.

Many seem to think the iPhone could never be used for business as it does not have 3G and because Apple have not released the SDK yet, so 'business' apps won't run on it. What applications are they getting at exactly ? I own a brand new Toshiba Portege 3G capable 'Windows Smart Phone' and an iPhone. Which one crashes, hanges, has various 'foibles' * that I have to put up with ? Well it aint the Apple 'toy' ! Which has the biggest and best screen and one of the most useable UI paradigms and user experiences ever - well its not the Windows powered device thats for sure.

However everyone seems to think the inability to receive 'pushed' Exchange email or run specialist apps means the iPhone is not a serious business device. Have any of these people ever connected by free "coffee shop" wi-fi sat down and used a 'real' browser on good size screen ? The only reason I have an iPhone is because it was part of the great 'Office 2.0' experiment at last years conference of the same name. Specialist apps were written for the conference and used to prove the utility of the mobile web paradigm. So, I can understand the complaints about lack of 3G, but as I understand it public (even free) wi-fi connectivity is a lot more prevalent in North America than it is here in the U.K.

Its all about 'web 2.0', 'office 2.0' and 'enterprise 2.0' ! Yep, it doesn't have a hardware keyboard, but I have 'live blogged' from conferences, fill in web forms, used Outlook Web Access as well as the built in Gmail, etc etc the list goes; all with the on screen keyboard - its 'good enough' for a mobile device of this size and form factor. As for the user experience - well my 4 1/2 year old son loves to use my iPhone - he can look up the weather in Toronto, find clips of Lego Knights on YouTube and do his ' 2 + 2 ' on the calculator. I know 44 year olds who can't wrap their heads round Smart Phone interface !

So can someone please tell me categorically with a good argument, why you can't use an iPhone for 'business' use - please ? Either that, or for goodness sake shut up !

* = Foibles that include not telling me when I have messages, not vibrating when its set to, not turning off silent mode when you try to, and on and on.....

1 comment:

Tim said...

I agree that the iPhone interface has a lot of possibilities. Here's a company that is using it for clinical trials.

http://laszloletter.typepad.com/the_laszlo_letter/2008/02/in-prior-posts.html