Can Apple support the fruits of labor?

Publisher's Note:

Two exciting developments here at FierceMarkets:
(1) I'm pleased to introduce the newest member of our editorial team. Doug Mohney, former Editor in Chief of VON Magazine, has joined us as Editor in Chief of our "Telecom & Digital Media" publications, overseeing FierceVoIP, FierceIPTV, FierceTelecom, and affiliated Webinars and events. He will be a counter-part to Sue Marek, Editor in Chief of our Wireless group of publications. Doug brings more than 10 years of telecom journalism experience to the FierceMarkets team. He can be reached directly at [email protected] or 202-628-8778 x 12.
(2) I am also excited to announce the launch of FierceOnlineVideo. This weekly publication will give you the inside scoop on the latest technologies and trends in the online video market.
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- Jeff

With the rumor mill working overtime churning out speculation on Apple's 3G iPhone, the surreptitious release of the iPhone software v2.0 beta failed to generate much attention, but its refinements and additions deserve a closer look. So far, all signs point to the update further bridging the gap between the mobile experience and traditional desktop-based applications--according to Gizmodo, marquee additions include saving pictures directly from Safari to the device's photo album, while AppleInsider notes the inclusion of contact list search, an upgrade inadvertently tipped off by Apple during last month's iPhone Software Roadmap event. The latest iPhone beta also features an iCal meeting invites folder, accessible by means of a drawer icon at the bottom of the iPhone's iCal application--the button was disabled in previous iterations.

Perhaps the biggest difference separating 2.0 from previous iPhone incarnations is contextual: Can Apple successfully position the device as an enterprise tool? In early March, Apple announced a deal to license and embed Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync program and embed it into the iPhone to enable over-the-air push email and contacts. Built-in Exchange ActiveSync support also promises security features like remote wipe, password policies and auto-discovery, complete with iPhone 2.0 support for Cisco IPsec VPN to ensure worry-free transmission of corporate data via multiple authentication safeguards. A number of development firms have already stated their intentions to create iPhone productivity apps as well. The question is whether a significant chunk of the enterprise market will ever make the switch from Research In Motion to Apple regardless of how many corporate applications the iPhone introduces. Is RIM's BlackBerry portfolio too entrenched in the business world? Is the iPhone too pricey for widespread corporate adoption? And are enterprise IT managers even comfortable administering to workers devices advertised in primetime via commercials featuring jaunty Brendan Benson power-pop tunes? Time will tell. -Jason