Daring Fireball’s BlackBerry vs. iPhone is a brilliant write-up of the way in which the iPhone’s upcoming ‘2.0’ software release nails the BlackBerry device on all counts.
Read it, if you care about portable computing devices and the near future of computing in general.
So, yes, the iPhone (with 2.0 software) will create great demand from employees.
But Gruber didn’t talk about one key aspect of how BlackBerries end up in employee’s hands.
The IT department
In my experience, ‘IT’ controls purchasing, set-up and fulfilment of handheld devices.
And we all know how much the IT departments in companies care about their user’s experience, don’t’ we?
The problem for Apple is going to be similar to getting Macs into the Enterprise – users want them, IT departments don’t.
Will companies switch carriers?
Another hurdle – in the UK (as in the US), only a single carrier supplies the iPhone. Centralised IT/Comms provisioning would presumably resist the upheaval of moving the company’s cell provider (or using a secondary provider) ‘just’ for the iPhone?
Unless Apple made the genius move of only locking themselves into consumer contracts with AT&T, o2, etc, Apple’s brilliant handling of providers to drive incremental revenue share from individual consumer subscriptions may prevent Enterprise adoption because of the iPhone’s self-imposed telco monoculture.
While consumers readily switch providers to get at an iPhone, will companies?
Will aggregated (and/or high-ranking) employee demand work instead?
Building up individual employee demand -may- will work for responsive, caring companies (and this will be a big deal in itself), but I’m afraid I’m sceptical about the chances of larger companies getting on the iPhone clue train.
I assume Apple plans to target CIOs and other ‘ranking’ employee types who will simply demand iphones, and without the ‘Outlook defence’, IT depts will have a hard time saying no.
Another possible Apple marketing angle – iPhones, unlike BlackBerries don’t depend on offsite routing of email through RIM’s optimisation servers (which have very publicly gone down a couple of times in the last year).
If anything makes execs itchy, it is the risk of losing handheld email service (and perhaps a realisation that their internal email is not on their network?).
Consumer iPhone by Stealth?
Actually, I think many employees will use their personally purchased iPhones to access their corporate LAN and access email.
I just don’t think the IT department will be involved.