First the App Store.
This is something that’s been in the works for awhile and is shaping up to be a very important part of Apple’s strategy. The App Store will allow developers to offer software applications to iPhone/Touch users with installation as simple as buying a song from iTunes. Judging from the demos of a few games and apps today, there are some pretty polished products waiting in the wings to be unleashed. Games from companies like Sega, with Super Monkey Ball (watch the demo linked in the middle of this page) prove that the iPhone could be a worthy contender against other handheld devices like the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP.
Dedicated apps like the auction browsing one demoed from Ebay and the music making app, Band were impressive as well….although these kinds of apps have been available on Installer for jailbroken iPhones for months, albeit not necessarily from the source company as in the Ebay case. A location based social networking app, Loopt was also demoed but reminds me of Twinkle that I covered previously which is arguably better since it’s using Twitter as the base social network. I’ll reserve judgement until I play with it myself though.
It’ll be interesting to see how stable and reliable these will become when they are legitimately available via Apple although some will be at a cost, like Monkey Ball which will be $9.99. I guess that price is okay considering a DS game would be triple that but it makes impulse purchases less likely than if it was priced in the $5 range. It’s unknown if demos will be available to download before purchase which may clinch the sale.
A very welcome feature of the App Store, unlike the iTunes Wifi Store is that as long as the app is under 10mb, you’ll be able to download it over Edge (or 3G) instead of having to use the desktop iTunes/sync method or Wifi. So if you’re on the go and want to check out that new app that came out, most likely you’ll be able to do it no matter where you are. The update notification will be nice too.
Okay. On to the Enterprise stuff.
One of the biggest things that needs to be done in order to help the iPhone penetrate the corporate world is offering integration with Microsoft Exchange Activesync servers which Apple will soon be offering. Corporate (push!) email on the iPhone will be a dream for many Blackberry toting people although I can understand the reluctance to give up the tactile keyboard for some of the people. When I had my Treo I thought there is nothing that could replace a physical keyboard for me but I’ve adapted to the touch keyboard quite well so they shouldn’t fear it. I wouldn’t hold my breath either for a bluetooth keyboard add-on. Apple doesn’t roll that way and neither should you.
Another interesting item as part of the Enterprise rollout is that the supported email attachments has expanded to include Keynote presentations. This means you can email your presentation to the phone (would be nice if you could sync or retrieve via browser) and then plug in the av cable to the iPhone and then plug that into a projector to display your presentation. Will be interested to see how that functions and if you lose anything in the process like transitions or video playback if they are included in the presentation.
Good for the Enterprise but sad for the employee will also be the ability to lock down the apps on a company deployed iPhone. I understand that this is a necessary evil but still don’t like it. I guess a locked down iPhone is still better than a Blackberry. Custom application downloads will also be available to the Enterprise via their intranet.
I wonder how Rogers will try to entice companies away from their competition using the iPhone now that it can compete against the Blackberry.