IT pros back iPhone 3G for business

Polled in advance of the iPhone 3G's launch, ZDNet.co.uk readers listed the features they think would spur business adoption of the device
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The launch of the iPhone 3G on Monday drew a strong response from ZDNet.co.uk readers, who were largely optimistic about adopting the device for business use.

In a reader survey polling 112 IT professionals, just before Steve Jobs announced the final specs, 78 respondents (70 percent) said they would like to use an iPhone 3G for work purposes.

Push email was highlighted as the most important feature for use in business, with 95 respondents, or 85 percent, saying that it would be essential. Sixty-nine percent of respondents identified the ability to run third-party applications as a key feature. Other features regarded as important were wireless synchronisation with Windows PCs (65 percent); longer battery life (61 percent); encryption and other security (55 percent); and central manageability (51 percent).

During the launch, Steve Jobs said that, after 3G connectivity, enterprise support was considered the second most important challenge when Apple set about designing the iPhone 3G, which will support push email and Exchange connectivity when it launches in 22 countries, including the UK, on 11 July.

"With the new Exchange functionality, [the iPhone 3G] will take some beating," said Gordon Barnes, who provides technical support for film-location promotion company Scottish Screen. IT consultant Jason Turley said he'd like to see a "great interface, great web-browsing experience, decent email client, calendaring [and] iPod, etc".

A sizeable minority of respondents said the iPhone 3G would not be suitable for their organisations. Thirty percent said they either definitely would not use the iPhone for business or were "not bothered".

Some ZDNet.co.uk readers who said that the iPhone 3G was not suitable for business were concerned about functionality, expressing doubts that the touchscreen would be good enough for typing on.

Security was another concern for readers. Although the iPhone 3G supports Cisco IPsec VPN and network services with WPA2 Enterprise and 802.1X authentication, some readers said that the device would have to be accredited by CESG, the information-assurance arm of GCHQ, before it would be acceptable for government use.

"For use in UK government, the device and its software will need to conform to strict CESG security requirements, as the BlackBerry does," said John Hamilton, who provides technical support for the Forestry Commission. Hamilton added that the iPhone 3G had limited functionality, a single tasking system and was locked to single carrier, which would also make it unsuitable for government use.

Readers such as BlackBerry user Gerald Simonds, manager of Gerald Simonds Healthcare, said they were happy with their current devices. "The BlackBerry does a great job, is simple and reasonably robust for company use," said Simonds.

Other readers were concerned that the iPhone 3G would prove to be primarily a consumer device lacking the proper controls to be viable in the workplace, and that the large screen would be easily damaged on the road.

Editorial standards