Monday, March 17, 2008

iPhone Enterprise Beta Program

I guess you could say that Apple has definitely caught my attention with their latest announcements. One detail that particularly interested me was the opportunity for Enterprise IT Managers to apply for the iPhone Enterprise Beta Program. This is a chance for some of us to get our grubby paws on the new ActiveSync applications for the iPhone and run it through the wringer. I've applied, but I'm not sure my organization is large enough. I'll be sure to let you guys know if I get approved.

Here is a more complete list of the features that will be included in the iPhone 2.0 software beta:
Push email
Push contacts
Push calendar
Global Address List
Certificates and Identities
Enforced security policies
More VPN protocols
Device configuration
Remote wipe

Here are the requirements to qualify for the beta:
A team of no more than five people to test the iPhone 2.0 software beta
One team member with administrative access to your IT infrastructure
A designated technical lead to act as a primary contact for Apple
All team members to read and accept the terms of the Apple Customer Seed and Confidentiality Agreement
A Mac computer using Mac OS X Leopard v10.5.2 or later
Up to five iPhones that are dedicated to testing the software and assigned to individual team members

So if any of you are Sys Admins, hurry up and apply!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

iPhone v2.0....almost there????

Okay, it's time to revisit my previous iPhone rant. As I said back in October, I feel like the wise thing to do is wait for the next version of the iPhone. This past week Apple has done a great job of answering a few of my sticking points. If you haven't seen the news, here are the major announcements Apple made this past week.

ActiveSync support
This is the biggie for me. Without ActiveSync, the iPhone is not a manageable Enterprise device. Sure, it's cool for the average Joe that wants to check his gmail account, but for sys admins it's just not easy to manage a large deployment without using ActiveSync. Most importantly will be the ability to remotely wipe the device in case of theft/loss. Included would be features such as Push e-mail, contacts, Global Address List, Cisco IPSec VPN, and authentication via certificate. Additionally there is talk of support from This is big for my organization.

iPhone SDK (Software Development Kit)
While I'm not too thrilled with the way Apple is implementing this one, I am encouraged overall. Back in the day, Palm's biggest draw was the community of developers that had built very useful applications for the Palm platform. One of the best examples I can think of is epocrates which was and still is used by many of my friends in the medical field. This was very difficult for Microsoft to overcome, but they did eventually catch up and now have a very active community of developers. Want to see weather on your phone? There are tons of options available and many are free. But yes, the iPhone has already done this. But what if you want to see it presented in a different manner or if you want an application to track your workouts? Sorry, you are stuck with what Apple provided or having to go to a website.....until now.

With the release of the SDK developers will now be able to write applications for the iPhone. My only issue is that the only way to get these applications will be through the iPhone App Store which will take 30% of the developers money. Wow, and Steve Jobs had the nerve to say that the App Store will not be a source of income for Apple....yeah right. I think this will slow down the adoption rate of developers wanting to create apps for the iPhone. But hey, its something and at least they have the option of giving their app away for free if they choose to do so.

While it's not clear to me when ActiveSync support will be offered, it is clear when we will see apps via the App Store. In June, Apple will release version 2.0 of the iPhone software. The App Store will be included in this release. Developers are able to download the SDK now to get their apps ready for a June launch.

YEAH!!! The iPhone now has 2x the storage of my nano. (For $500...ONLY 16GB?? SERIOUSLY??)

3G iPhone???
So what about those other complaints I had back in October???? Good question. Apple made no mention of a 3G iPhone this week. The consensus in the tech community seems to be that the 3G iPhone will be released at the same time of the v2.0 software. If this is true, I may just have a shiny new iPhone in June.

Bluetooth Voice Dialing
But the one thing that continues to bug me is the lack of bluetooth voice dialing support and still no mention of it from Apple that I've seen. I recently switched from a Motorola Q to a Samsung i760 and then to an HTC Titan (Verizon xv6800.) Without actual buttons to dial on the Titan, I'm finding myself fumbling to call people. I have improved this a bit by installing the HTC Home app and its people tab, but I'm still constantly fumbling. I've tested a few BT headsets and voice dialing makes all the difference in the world. The 3G iPhone better include BT dialing or I will be one unhappy geek.

So now let's talk GPS. Again, still no mention of it that I've seen. If Apple fails to deliver this feature, I feel they will just be cheating their customers. As of the end of 2007, GPS is almost expected in $400+ phones. Of course Apple will probably expect their branding and popularity to carry them through missing such a key feature.....and they'll probably be right. Let's hope Apple does right by their customers and finds a way to include GPS.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chinese IQ test for job applicants

My co-workers sent this to me and told me I had 15 minutes or I was fired. I'm ashamed to admit that it took me 13 minutes. My old brain just isn't as nimble as it used to be. Apparently I get to keep my job though. LOL