10 ways Apple can improve iPhone for business use

“The iPhone is unique. While it offers numerous features, its origins as a consumer device still leave in place a number of challenges when adopting it in the enterprise.,” Ryan Faas reports for Computerworld.

“To its credit, Apple has dealt with a number of these issues, allowing the iPhone to be preconfigured for users, supporting secure networking and offering Exchange support — including Exchange security policy support and the ability to remotely wipe a lost or stolen phone,” Faas reports. “But there’s more Apple can do to meet corporate needs, from the perspective of both IT staffers and business users.”

Here are 10 things that Apple could — and should — offer to make the iPhone a killer business device:

1. Provide expanded configuration and restriction options for administrators
2. Provide a way to enforce the use of configuration profiles
3. Develop over-the-air deployment for profiles
4. Develop direct push options for platforms other than Exchange
5. Offer a unified in-box
6. Develop tools to create and edit Office documents
7. Allow file storage/management on the iPhone itself
8. Add copy and paste functionality

MacDailyNews Take: Good Jobs, Apple, will you please do #8 already?! We’re tired of hearing about it and we’re even more tired of not having it on our iPhones! If not, at least provide an adequate explanation as to why the iPhone can’t, for some reason, accommodate a simple Clipboard. That said, you can have our iPhones when you pry them out of our cold dead fingers.

9. Implement enterprise licensing for the App Store
10. Develop a mass deployment solution other than iTunes

Full article – recommended – here.

41 Comments

  1. Well, …. I just HATE my iPhone.

    Well, its black or white….. Why can it be purple??? Whats wrong with purple? Is Apple color biased??

    Its rectangular…… What wrong with round. Why can’t it be round. You can throw something round much easier…. Apple could sell hundreds (maybe thousands ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> ) if the iPhone were round.

    And adapters…. where are the adapters??? They should be placed INSIDE the iPhone for easy of carrying. Pop out a door and there they are. What is wrong with Apple. No internal carry along adapters. Its just so wrong.

    So these are all deal breakers for me. NO third iPhone until Steve personally adds these things. I guess that will show him who is boss………

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    Just a thought.
    en

  2. This is a surprisingly well thought out article. Cut and paste is simply obvious. Some of the other suggestions are more subtle, but equally on point. Does anyone see any real flaws in the author’s arguments?
    (Let’s ignore silly, knee-jerk defenders of the status quo like “ElderNorm”–Apple certainly doesn’t stand still.)

  3. I switched from BlackBerry to iPhone, and feel the following additional feature enhancements would make the iPhone a top notch business solution:

    1) Spotlight Search – a proper all-encompassing search icon on the home screen. Email, Calendar, Contacts, Phone Call Log, Notes, SMS, iPod Media, Photo metadata etc. would all be searchable if so configured in iPhone Settings. It’s currently a pain to find specific email messages or meetings. I really miss this from my BlackBerry, and I think it is long overdue on iPhone especially if you’re a business person.
    2) Notes and To-do Task item synchronization with Outlook, iPhone, MobileMe, and Leopard. MobileMe could be advertised as a great Outlook PC to Mac data migration conduit if this all synchronized. To-do/Tasks would also be searchable on iPhone using Spotlight (see #1 above). Again, I really miss this from my Blackberry/Outlook.
    3) Copy/Paste.
    4) Local file storage to save documents, also with synchronization with the MobileMe iDisk. I would love to have access to certain documents when I’m on the go or out of network coverage area.
    5) Dial phone numbers in Calendar items.
    6) Improved phone call log that also shows the length of the call.
    7) Remote wipe from the MobileMe website in the unfortunate event where the iPhone is lost or stolen. Remote wipe should both optionally PIN lock the SIM card to prevent usage, and leave intact a personalized owner/contact message on the locked iPhone screen should a decent person wish to return a lost iPhone.
    8) Add additional meeting attendee(s) to existing meeting in the Calendar.

    Cheers,

    ITG

  4. “But there’s more Apple can do to meet corporate needs, from the perspective of both IT staffers and business users.” This is the problem. Corporate IT is a bottomless pit of need. As soon as Apple delivers a set of features, they’ll be back howling for more. For a device that is both consumer oriented and personal, Apple really needs to consider whether it is worth trying to address these the needs of Corporate IT staffers when there might be a better way.

    Your typical IT philosophy is to try and control everything, whereas the Internet age has shown us that it’s the back end that matters. The user should be free to choose their OS, their browser, and their widgets. If IT focus on providing a solid infrastructure and secure access to corporate servers, the users can manage their own iPhones without Big Brother.

    As long as Apple can grow revenue without selling out to corporate IT, they should be patient and espouse this “user first” philosophy.

  5. Enterprise must control every facet of a Business cell phone.

    So must the cell telcos.

    So must Apple.

    We all know who will win this tug-of-war.

    For the clueless out there his first name is Steve.

  6. I don’t see a universal landscape keyboard on the list.

    Everybody I know who hates typing on the iPhone feels that way because they’re forced to use the skinny portrait keyboard everywhere outside of Safari.

    Hell, I hate typing outside of Safari myself.

    They need to overhaul the iPhone OS so a universal landscape keyboard can be used everywhere. It’s one of the very few things that piece of shit BlackBerry Storm got right.

    And give us the option of an alphanumeric passcode already.

  7. I’d like to see a couple of things added, not necessarily for business use, but just in general.

    1. A “Select All” button for deleting e-mail.
    2. The ability to print from iPhone.

  8. 10. Develop a mass deployment solution other than iTunes

    Yes Apple could you PLEASE add extra nonsense that will make it more convoluted, rather than your nice simple method? It will make us elite business people feel like business people rather than the riff-raff…..and can it come in grey and steel blue only?

  9. Amen to what Famous Grouse says. I think that the reason the iPhone doesn’t allow administrators to lock down everything on the phone is that Apple doesn’t want to get a bad reputation for crippled phones / software that they didn’t create. If my corporate IT guys were made to accept iPhones and were given carte blanche over configuration, the result would look like – guess what? – a BlackBerry Storm. They’d kill it, because they’d make it look like what the IT geeks expect a “business phone” to look like. I’d hate to use the thing. They would simply destroy the sense of childlike pleasure that comes from using an iPhone the way God (excuse me, make that Steve and Jon) intended.

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