Workers worldwide will be able to sign up for an iPhone this year...
British bank Standard Chartered has begun offering staff iPhones as work mobiles - one of the first major international organisations to back the Apple device as a corporate handset.
One quarter of Standard Chartered's 10,000 business mobile users have already been issued with an iPhone, with the rest receiving their Apple handset from July this year.
The number of workers who are given an iPhone will be extended to 15,000 - one fifth of the bank's global workforce - by the end of this year.
Bank staff were previously issued only with a BlackBerry, however no new BlackBerrys will be issued to employees in future. Staff will be able to hang on to existing work BlackBerrys in the short term, although the bank will eventually switch all mobile phone users over to the iPhone in the future.
The bank's decision to begin issuing Apple's handset to staff was partly driven by the large number of iPhone apps aimed at business users on the Apple App Store, such as apps for tracking and planning plane journeys, according to the company.
The bank is also developing its own HR, customer relationship management and document workflow management apps for the iPhone.
"The iPhone allows us to use the best of what is already available on the Apple App Store and to develop and use our own apps internally - so we get the best of the internal and external worlds," a spokesman for Standard Chartered told silicon.com.
While the iPhone has notched up a share of the smartphone market of more than 14 per cent, few businesses have adopted the device.
In a silicon.com CIO Jury last year, IT chiefs were sceptical about the business value of the iPhone, with only two of the 12 tech chiefs giving it the thumbs up as an enterprise device. The reasons for their doubts ranged from poor battery life to concerns about not wanting to appear to be wasting the business' money.