Apple Executes Enterprise Checklist for 3G iPhone

Apple says it is poised to extend the reach of its red-hot iPhone into the enterprise space. CEO Steve Jobs recently told ABC News that Apple has followed through on business user requests for push e-mail, calendar and contacts capabilities, compatibility with Microsoft Exchange, and various security features missing from the original iPhone.

“On the enterprise side, Apple has taken a huge step forward for kind of ticking off all of the boxes that enterprises want, from Cisco VPN to wiping the device remotely,” said Carolina Milanesi, Gartner research director. “They are basically executing what they had promised to do.”

Enhancing Productivity

Achieving growth in the enterprise space is an essential component of Apple’s plan for meeting its 10 million iPhone sales target for 2008. Though the company still has much work to do to make the iPhone an enterprise hit, Jobs says Apple has already laid the groundwork.

“The business world has bought a lot of iPhones in the last year,” with the “CEOs and senior executives in most of the Fortune 500 companies already having iPhones of their own,” Jobs told ABC News. “And there are a lot of employees that have them at home, and they really want to use them at work.”

For enterprises, productivity is key. Apple noted that the speed of its new iPhone is twice as fast over 3G than over the EDGE wireless technology featured in its original iPhone. “My impression is that it’s going to be able to handle enterprise applications more quickly,” said Rena Bhattacharyya, IDC research manager.

Having that 3G capability on an iPhone “is a good thing for countries where wireless LAN is not as pervasive as in the United States,” Milanesi noted. “There are plenty of places” where workers “really need the speed of 3G because they can’t fall back on Wi-Fi,” and EDGE wireless speeds may not be adequate for completing tasks at hand in a timely fashion.

Sales Policy Shift

To cut back on the number of unlocked devices in circulation worldwide, Apple will no longer allow iPhones to be purchased online. “Given the fact that the operators are now subsidizing the device, you do want the sales to come from the operator and to be linked to the operator,” Milanesi explained.

Apple’s sales policy sea change should have little impact on consumers, Milanesi said. “It’s a complex method nowadays to choose a phone and choose a plan. People like to have the phone in their hands first, and then get someone to explain how the tariffs work.”

To offset its loss of unlocked phone sales, Apple has reduced the 3G iPhone’s price by $200. Milanesi thinks that will help widen the device’s appeal in Europe, where the carriers often make subsidized smartphones available for free or a steep discount. “The price is definitely better than before.”

Moreover, now that Apple is no longer demanding a share of wireless-carrier revenues, its network partners will be able to subsidize iPhone sales. This should further boost Apple’s unit shipments.

Milanesi notes that the United Kingdom’s O2 wireless carrier will allow its existing iPhone owners to upgrade to the new 3G model in exchange for subscribing to more expensive monthly tariffs ($88 or $146.50 plans). And recent media reports suggest that O2 may be planning to offer a similar “free” deal to its enterprise-class customers.

If other operators worldwide follow suit, then the iPhone should be able to gain more business traction.


Via Yahoo

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