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.
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 Salesforce.com. 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??)
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.