Does the new iPhone do push sync?
Yes. Enterprises can make use of the iPhone's built-in support for ActiveSync, a Microsoft communication protocol that synchronizes messages, contacts, calendar items, notes and tasks between a mobile device and an Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 server.
Note: This isn't limited to the new iPhones, but comes courtesy of iPhone 2.0, the firmware upgrade for all Apple's iPhones and iPod touch devices. (Keep reading for more on iPhone 2.0.)
For non-corporate types, Apple's revamped its .Mac online sync and data storage service, renamed it "MobileMe" and pitched it as "Exchange for the rest of us." MobileMe, which, like .Mac, costs $99 for a year's subscription, provides push sync between Macs, PCs and iPhones. An iPhone doesn't have to be tethered to a Mac or PC for MobileMe sync, as is the case now.
MobileMe will use a new domain -- www.me.com -- that while not yet active, redirects visitors to the Apple site's marketing materials.
When is Apple releasing iPhone 2.0?
A little later than originally intended.
While Apple had earlier promised to have it in users' hands this month, today it said the update would appear in "early July." Circle July 11 on the calendar, to be exact -- the same day slated for the start of iPhone 3G sales.
Current iPhone owners get the update free of charge, but iPod touch owners will have to fork over US$9.95. (So that answers the question some have been asking about iPod touch upgrades for those who pick up one during Apple's annual back-to-school promotion.)
The most important, but not only, feature additions that come with iPhone 2.0, are synchronization with Exchange servers (see above) and the ability to download and install software on the iPhone crafted by third-party developers.
I hear there are a lot of new apps for the iPhone. How do I get them?
July looks to be a busy month for Apple, since it also said today that its new App Store, the electronic download site-slash-mart for third-party applications, will debut at the same time as iPhone 2.0, July 11.
Today, Apple trotted out several developers, who each had a few minutes to show their upcoming software. Some programs be free -- eBay's auction monitor, for example -- while others, such as the pair of Pangea Software games ported from the Mac, will sell for US$9.99 each.
Once the iPhone 2.0 firmware is installed, you'll be able to download applications directly to an iPhone using Wi-Fi or your carrier's data network, or first to a PC or Mac running iTunes, then to the iPhone via sync. Applications up to 10MB in size can be downloaded directly to the iPhone, but larger program must be shunted through iTunes, a requirement meant to limit the impact on cellular networks.
Does Apple still get a share of carrier revenues?
It looks like those days are over, at least in the US.
In a separate statement today, AT&T said it has struck a new deal -- a more traditional one -- that replaces the revenue-sharing model in play for last year.
"The new agreement between Apple and AT&T eliminates the revenue-sharing model under which AT&T shared a portion of monthly service revenue with Apple," said the telecommunications company. "Under the revised agreement, which is consistent with traditional equipment manufacturer-carrier arrangements, there is no revenue sharing."
Typically, carriers subsidize the cost of new handsets to draw customers, or retain current customers. AT&T's statement used the word "subsidized" just once, but it made it pretty clear that it is, in fact, giving something to Apple in exchange for the lower pricing. "In the near term," the statement reads, "AT&T anticipates that the new agreement will likely result in some pressure on margins and earnings, reflecting the costs of subsidized device pricing, which, in turn, is expected to drive increased subscriber volumes."