This the day we have all been waiting for… Apple previewed its iPhone 2.0 software, which is scheduled for release in June. Today, however, the beta release of the SDK (software development kit) became available to select developers and enterprise customers. The iPhone 2.0 beta release includes not only the SDK but new enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which will provide over-the-air push e-mail, contacts, and calendars. Also announced was the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks. Integration of Salesforce.com was also mentioned at Apple’s live announcement. The announcement obviously means the once “Play” phone is trying hard to be a “work” phone. But does the phone become a serious competitor to smart phone devices from Palm, RIM, and others? Fake Steve Jobs certainly thinks so. John Jackson, a wireless analyst at the Yankee Group, says the “short answer is yes.” He added, “the idea behind this announcement was to make the iPhone more viable to the enterprise. We don’t know though how integrated some of these tools, like Salesforce.com, will be in the device though.”
I only got to chat with Jackson for a few minutes, but our conversation about the JesusPhone’s new business features soon turned to a general talk about the industry. “If you take a step back it has been clear that the distinction between an enterprise class smart phone and a consumer phone is becoming negligible or is [already] negligible.”
Call me a BlackBerry lover but this announcement only makes me more excited to see what play features RIM has up its sleeve.