Why iPhone 2.0 won't yet rule the enterprise roost

Why iPhone 2.0 won't yet rule the enterprise roost

The 13 key omissions Apple must fix before it can really compete with BlackBerry and Treo

11. No native support for Notes or Groupwise. Yes, Exchange is the big gorilla in the world of enterprise messaging and collaboration, but a sizable minority of the world does not use Microsoft's systems. For example, I know a large California county government that would adopt iPhones and iPod Touches, except that there isn't any  GroupWise support. Thus, they can't enforce their security and access standards, which they can with most other PDAs and smartphones. Apple shouldn't have stopped with Exchange in building in core enterprise messaging support.

12. Poor e-mail account switching. If you have multiple e-mail accounts (and who doesn't?), it's great that the iPhone lets you access them all, keeping their e-mails separate. But switching among them is a pain; you have to go all the way back to the root of the mail app to switch. There's got to be an easier way to switch e-mail accounts at any time, such as through a pop-up menu.

13. Ability to work with multiple e-mails. Because the iPhone doesn't block spam e-mails, I get a lot of them on my POP account (Exchange does the work for me on my corporate e-mail). While I like the quick-delete swipe feature in my e-mail list, why can't I multiple-select e-mails to delete the trash, or move them to the same folder, or mark them all read?

Where Apple should lead

There also a few areas that are crying out for a better way, that Apple could and should pioneer given its mastery of user experience.

Enhanced time zone support. Here's something everyone could do better, so Apple, please take the lead. Like many people, I schedule calls with people all over the United States, Canada, and Europe -- and sometimes other countries. It's hard when entering an appointment to get the time zone right, especially for those time zones I don't deal with often (such as Atlantic time for Puerto Rico and New Brunswick, or whatever time zones Alaska and Hawaii are in). Sure, I could change the default time zone for the iPhone using Apple's Settings app, but that changes everything and forces me to tell the other party to hang on a minute. I'd like an unobtrusive option to change the time zone of a specific appointment as I enter it, so the iPhone can figure what local time it is for me.

Wi-Fi printing. More and more printers are wireless, and when you're on the road, it would be great to be able to print your notes, contacts, map, or whatever to one of them.

Other issues that affect everyone

There are a few other things I'm not sure are enterprise-specific but are annoyances nonetheless. So here goes:

First, my iPod Touch often is slower in switching among apps than it used to be now that I have the 2.0 software installed; a few times I thought the iPhone crashed after waiting 10 or more seconds for something to happen. I've heard others with similar problems, all those who upgraded pre-3G devices.

Second, syncing apps when you have multiple computers is tricky. Some third-party apps disappear when you sync on the second computer, and reappear when you later sync on the first. Others never disappear. Yes, I disabled the sync function on the second computer's iTunes, but it mysteriously re-enables itself, so I often forget to disable it again.

Third, Apple no longer includes a dock with the iPhone, and its expansion connector has changed, so not all previous peripherals fit. Bad Apple! That type of incompatibility is just not necessary, especially when some of these Bluetooth chargers come with US$100-plus earpieces.

Fourth, if you're going to put a camera in a smartphone, why wouldn't you support the sending of those pictures over the cellular network via MMS? The iPhone does not.

Fifth, can't Apple and Adobe figure out a way to support Flash on the iPhone? Flash files can be resource hogs, and badly implemented ones can cause crashes (ask any Firefox user), but these are so prevalent on the Web and so much a part of rich Internet content that it's nuts not to support them in a device as rich-Internet-focused as the iPhone. Ditto with Java support.

Finally, I wish the iPhone could store passwords, so when I go to a hot spot, for example, I wouldn't have to re-enter all that information each time. While I'm fairly proficient with the touch keyboard, it's still a pain to expand the Web page to be able to find the fields I need to complete to log in.

(For those of you wondering why I don't have an original or 3G iPhone: As much as I would like an iPhone 3G, I'm not willing to shell out nearly $1,000 per year for the service, which is what it would cost for me to shift from my current cell carrier, whose family plan I'm enmeshed in and can't get out of because other family members live in areas where AT&T's coverage sucks. So an iPhone would be a wholly new, additional plan. Fortunately, I've discovered that since I'm not a road warrior, I am perfectly happy having a regular cell phone in one pocket and the Wi-Fi-capable iPod Touch in another. Most of the time, anyhow.)

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