Tag Archives: iphone

iPhone and iPad in the Enterprise

CIO.com’s Tom Kaneshige has an interesting article on some errors he believes Apple has made in their iOS Developer Enterprise Program.  There are clearly some issues that Apple is going to need to address in order to make iOS a viable platform for the enterprise outside of niche applications.

The  iOS Developer Enterprise Program enables enterprise application developers to:

  • Distribute applications in house.  An important limitation is that the applications can be deployed to employees and contractors only.  Not being able to extend distribution to suppliers, channel partners, franchisees or other partners is overly limiting for many enterprise applications.
  • Test applications under development on iOS devices.
  • Receive code-level technical support
  • Participation in the Apple Developer Program

Kaneshige makes soem great points about the issues enterprise customers are seeing using the consumer iOS App Store to purchase generic applications.   Some companies are having their employees purchase apps on the store and expense those purchases back.  The enterprise, unfortunately, misses out on the benefits of volume pricing or enterprise license agreements.  Likewise the firm incurs the cost of processing the employees expenses.

One of the major issues with which enterprise CIOs will need to struggle is Apple’s effective “kill switch” to deactivate all apps deployed on iOS devices.  As unlikely as this is likely to be, this strikes me as an unacceptable risk for enterprise customers.  Often Apple’s decisions with respect to applications in the consumer apps store have appeared capricious, and the decision-making is extremely opaque.  Beyond deliberate decisions to kill an apps there is always the possibility of mistakes or misunderstandings that lead Apple to pull an enterprise app down in error and then take hours, days or weeks to correct that error.  The notion of exposing a mission critical application to this sort of possibility is the sort of thing that will keep a CIO up at night.

Until Apple can address some of these critical issues we should expect iPhone and iPad use in large enterprises to be limited to niche, non-mission critical applications or basic productivity such as e-mail, instant messaging, video conferencing and the like.  Web-based apps that can be accessed securely on mobile devices are likely to be more widely deployed by enterprises.  Cross-platform functionality is another benefit of the web-based approach.

Look Ma, I’m Blogging from my iPhone!

The title really says it all. I’m not sure Tolstoy would write “War and Peace” on this thing, but it’s one more thing I’m loving after my move to WordPress.

Real-World Application for Social Networking: Carpooling

Commuting to and from work in the Washington, DC metro area where I live is a full-contact sport.  Regularly Washington is near the top of the list of America’s cities with the worst traffic, and deservedly so.  For Washingtonians traffic has disproportional influence on our lives, and the locals have developed some very innovative mechanisms to cope with traffic.

I was excited to see the Carticipate application on the iTunes Application Store.  Carticipate is a social networking tool to find carpool buddies.  I was very impressed by this real-world application of social networking.  There’s also a Carticpate application coming to Facebook.  The value of Carticipate obviosly increases as mor eusers come on board.  One complaint about carpooling is that it does not offer carpoolers flexibility for things like errands, after work happy hours and trips to the gym before and after work.  With a large enough social network a Carticipate user would be more likely to have a friend going from most points A to most points B at various times of day.  One might even be able to coordinate “transfers” among multiple carpooling buddies so that Bob rides with Carol from Washington to Tysons Corner and then catches a ride with Ted and Alice from Tysons Corner to Ashburn.

That, and I think the concept is just really neat.

Carticipate.jpg

Can’t blog… iPhoning

So last Friday, July 11th, I left the house at about 5:30 AM and joined the line about 30-people strong at the AT&T store in Ashburn, Virginia to wait in line for the chance to get my hot little hands on the new 3G iPhone.  If absolutely nothing else I was excited to finally get rid of my Treo 650, a device that never lived up to its promise.  I was too much of a telecom snob to buy the first generation iPhone despite my Apple fanboy status– the lack of 3G was just too limiting.  Having lived with the iPhone for nearly a week now, I can definitely say that it was worth the wait.

Being a true ENTJ on the Myers Briggs framework, one of the things that I was most looking forward to was integrating the organizational, GTD brilliance of OmniFocus on my Macintosh into a handheld device.  This has been a great improvement over the “To Do” list on the Treo because I can look at action items based on projects, context (i.e. where I am or resources at my disposal) and what is due soon or even (shudder!) overdue.  OmniFocus also brings a To Do application to the iPhone, something the first generation phone was sorely missing.  So sorry for the Windows users out there that I don’t think there’s an OmniFocus for Windows, but a person could probably use OmniFocus exlcusively on the iPhone.  Next up in the life hacking effort is to use Jott and Evernote.

The transition from my .Mac account to MobileMe was not without its delays and hiccups.  The synchronization of bookmarks, contacts and calendar events has gone pretty well once I got the service up and running over the weekend.  So far, so good on that.  I can see the potential for MobileMe, despite the awful brand name, to build on the so-so offering that was .Mac.  I’m enjoying the AJAX-y goodness of the MobileMe calendar most of all, so that I can access a pretty full-fledged calendar from within Firefox at work, home and then using the Calendar application on the iPhone. 

The top item on my MobileMe wish list is synchronization with Microsoft Outlook, the clunky productivity suite we use in my office (and pretty much any corporate environment).  Microsoft hasn’t taken a real look at Outlook in at least a decade, and that bad boy is really showing its age.  I’ll stop there for now because I could wrote a whole blog rant abotu everything that’s wrong with Outlook.

In summary: iPhone good.  Fire bad.

Cavuto and Fox News Say iPhone Sales Doubleplusungood

In the interest of a Cavuto-bashing hat trick, I had to comment on this little tidbit about Fox News altering the transcript of commentary that was aired on the network in which Neil Cavuto attempted to take Apple to task for disappointing iPhone sales.  In the process of his commentary, Cavuto made several mis-statements.  the Fox News web site says of the corrected transcript “This is the correct copy that was read on air.”  The corrected transcript is not what I have heard was actually said on the air, and it STILL contains incorrect information.

From Daring Fireball:

Where he was previously quoted as saying:

Lo and behold, we’re told 146,000 iPhones were activated in the day
and a half between the phone’s launch and the most recent quarter’s end.

He is now quoted as saying:

Lo and behold, we’re told 270,000 iPhones were sold
in the day and a half between the phone’s launch and the most recent
quarter’s end – trouble is only about 146,000 were actually activated.

The transcript still claims Apple had projected “half a million”
opening weekend sales (they didn’t), and still uses the adjective
“hotsy-totsy”.

I will admit upfront that I did not see the initial commentary made by Mr. Cavuto.  I also have not been able to find a video of the commentary on-line.  I’m taking Daring Fireball and the commentators of MacBreak Weekly at their word, and I have little reason not to do so.  Cavuto initially ignored the fact that Apple actually sold 270,000 iPhones in the first few days of sales.  Considering the issues many early adopters had activating their phones in those first days, this is not an unusual disparity between number of phones sold and the number activated.  Also, no doubt many people bought multiple phones as gifts, to sell on eBay, etc.  It’s important to keep in mind that there were only 30 hours of the second quarter in which the iPhone was actually available for sale.

The transcript still includes a claim that Apple had projected the sale of 500,000 iPhones in the first weekend of sales.  This is utterly and totally false.  Neither Apple nor AT&T, to the very best of my knowledge, projected any sales volumes before the phone was launched.  The closest data to a unit sales projection I had seen for the iPhone in the weeks leading up to the launch was that each AT&T-owned retail outlet would have a total of 20 iPhones available for sale, and that no numbers were available on iPhones available at each Apple store.  I can speak from my own experience of almost buying an iPhone at an AT&T store that the location at Potomac Yard in Alexandria, VA had way more than 20 iPhones for sale.  If anything Apple and AT&T seemed to be setting expectations of iPhone shortages in the early days of the launch.  So, wrong again, Mr. Cavuto.

Repeat after me. “Wi-Fi is NOT the Devil.”

In February of 2005 I wrote a blog entry about how Verizon had actually missed potential market plays when the city of Philadelphia daned to begin their build-out of municipal Wi-Fi broadband wireless Internet connectivity. I still maintain that muni Wi-Fi represents a greater opportunity than it does a threat for commercial fixed-line broadband service providers. Now in July of 2007 I read in the Wall Street Journal that one of the Local Exchange Carriers finally begins to understand and act on the potential opportunity that a mix of fixed broadband and wireless access can represent:

AT&T Inc. announced Monday that subscribers to its higher-speed broadband services will have free access to its Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country.

Here’s an article with more detail from CNet.

Kudos to AT&T for finding a service differentiator to cable-based broadband in their service territory. Broadband competitors in AT&T-served markets will find it difficult to counter this. AT&T DSL customers who have iPhones should be particularly happy because now they can use their Wi-Fi functionality of their iPhones in locations where AT&T offers Wi-Fi hotspot service.

Technorati Tags: Competitive Intelligence, Telecom.

i Touched the iPhone and Was Healed

Last Friday (i-Day) after class I found myself at a shopping center that happened to have an AT&T store. I saw that the line was not too long so I decided that even if I did not make the plunge to buy an iPhone I would probably at least get to play with one. An AT&T marketing rep was working the line with an iPhone that I did get to spend a few minutes examining. The interface is sweet, though text entry will take a little getting used to.

When I finally got into the store after about 15 minutes in line they were out of the 8 gigabyte models. The sexy screen of the iPhone was just made for watching video, so in my opinion 4 gig just are not enough. So, that was enough of a reality check to call me back into reality, so I walked away without getting the iPhone.

All in all I’m on the fence about whether or not to wait for version 2.0 of the iPhone. I still think not having the higher-speed HSDPA on the phone makes it less useful. Also in the last several months it seems that the number of places AT&T service is not available is pretty significant, including the business school and my office. I would overlook this if I could hop on to a wireless network to connect my voice traffic, a la T-Mobile’s voice call termination over Wi-Fi.

The iPhone presents wonderful opportunities for carriers and handset-makers alike, and I expect that the benefits will felt beyond AT&T and Apple to extend to their competitors. I’m very biased when it comes to Apple’s genius with user interface and integration of multiple (admittedly proprietary) hardware and software products into a functional and usable system. Smart phones have historically been very poor in this area: the data side of my Treo is so useless it’s little more than a big-ass phone. Hopefully a usable and beautiful phone that functions seamlessly with the Internet and users’ computers will be the kick in the pants phone manufacturers need to make useful smart phones of their own. AT&T are opening up the gates ever so slightly to a more open approach to applications and business models– they’ll see the benefits of this and other carriers will hopefully pick up the clue phone.

Technorati Tags: Wireless, iPhone.

Yo Quero iPhone

OK, do I even need to say anything at all about the iPhone? The English language does not have adequate words to express how much I want this phone. I am counting down the hours until the phone is released in June.

Even though the user interface looks super-sweet, the real killer for me is synchronization. I have the Palm Treo 650 right now, and I am truly a glutton for punishment because I endeavor to keep the Palm synchronized with my Mac and my work PC. I think this form of torture is technically outlawed by the Geneva convention.

BEGIN RANT HERE
Even worse than sync is Versamail, the Palm e-mail client that allegedly supports synchronization with Microsoft Exchange server e-mail, which my office uses. Versamail, bless its heart, cannot just synchronize the e-mail in my work in-box, it has to synchronize the calendar is well. This is not a bad thing in theory, and Communism works in theory. The synchronization process at least once a week would generate an error that my calendar database had been corrupted. The software offered to very helpfully delete the calendar on both my Palm and my PC. It didn’t take me long to drop a big, nuclear F-bomb and just give up on the damn thing. So now that I can’t check e-mail using my smart phone what the hell is the point of having a smart phone?
END RANT HERE

OK, I’ve taken a few minutes to calm down and just chill out for a moment. Did I mention that I really want an iPhone?

Really not all is perfect with the iPhone, though. The big missing piece of the puzzle to my mind is that the phone’s data connection is on Cingular’s EDGE network (up to 384 Kbps according to Cingular, but topping out well below that in most real-world measures). The HSDPA network (400 – 700 Kbps according to Cingular website) does not have broad coverage yet, but would certainly provide a fast connection where available.

Of course, listen to an American complaining about the iPhone not working on his protocol of choice. The rest of the world is going to have to wait well past June for the phone to be available in their markets. Apple may be challenged to get conservative and crotchety carriers to buy into a phone that so overshadows the wireless service itself. David Pogue has indicated that Cingular is going to have this phone completely locked down and is prepared for hacker efforts to unlock the phone. As a rule I think locking the device to a specific provider’s network is a move that takes value from your customer and gives it to that provider. It looks like Apple have been willing to make some significant compromises to make progress with their first carrier.

Technorati Tag: iPhone.

More on the iPhone

Today on Adam Christiansen’s MacCast (at least the episode to which I listened today) there was a comment from an executive from Motorola that the delay in the iTunes-enabled iPhone is not due to objections from mobile carriers. This seems to counter, somewhat, the comments Steve Jobs reportedly made. At this point who the hell knows.

In addition to this news I ran accross this site with some speculative details on the iPhone.

Who Stole my iTunes Phone?

There’s this bit on the Chicago Tribune today about how Motorola have delayed the launch of the iTunes phone because of objections from a wireless carrier (registration required, bless Bugmenot).

The gist of the Trib article is that the delay resulted when one of the wireless carriers objected to the inclusion of iTunes functionality on a wireless phone that would not include them in the revenue mix for sales. I have to admit that I’m somewhat taken aback by this, because I could only suspect most users would simply be transferring songs already purchased via their computers to the phone. If users are downloading the songs via wireless data networks, carriers should be satisfied and ga-ga with revenue from the downloading of those bits (data tariffs are pretty lucrative). In other words, the carrier is included in the mix on the basis of the cost of the download itself.

At Fierce Wireless there is speculation that wireless companies are focused on launching their own music services, and this is the basis of their reluctance to let Motorola fly with this phone. I can give this a degree of validity, because weve been seeing more and more wireless carriers looking to control and brand the entire wireless experience as they see fit.

The Trib rightly observes that this scenario (if indeed it is the result of carrier objections) speaks volumes about the balance of power between carriers and equipment manufacturers. Shadows of PalmOne’s decision to disable Bluetooth on the Treo 650 at the behest of Sprint, anyone? This balance of power, combined with the rise of lowest-cost manufacturers like LG spells some serious trouble for the premium brands in the mobile industry. As carriers take issue with new features and functionality, it could easily follow that the innovation that the likes of Moto, Nokia and Sony Ericsson have shown could come to matter less and less.

The competitive intelligence guy in me is hopping that the executives at these companies took the time to war game these potential scenarios and are ready with some means to respond. One idea that jumps to my mind is to push the notion of the unlocked phone harder here in the US just like its been in Europe. With number portability a reality now, phone manufacturers can really make a push on the notion of being able to take your phone with you wherever you go. An obvious obstacle that comes to mind is the diverse wireless standards in the US, such that a customer would not be able to take their phone from, say T-Mobile (who use GSM) to Verizon Wireless (who use CDMA). New chipsets, however, might alleviate this limitation.

Regardless, Motorolas lot reflects broader changes for wireless phone manufacturers. I hope they are prepared to respond, because I want my iTunes phone.