It's possible the iPhone launch on Friday 29 June is more hype than substance - indeed the current poll we're running on R/WW has only 20% of respondants interested in buying an iPhone as soon as it's released! 41% have no plans to buy one and a further 18% said they'll never buy one. The poll is below, if you'd like to have your say. Nevertheless, there is a flurry of web development activity around the iPhone. One of the more surprising aspects of this is that enterprise apps are being built for, or ported to, the iPhone.
announced an iPhone version of their Web Office suite, called (naturally enough) iZoho. It currently allows users to view documents, spreadsheets and presentations. As of now, only documents can be edited. And Zoho hasn't actually tested this on iPhone yet, so they say they will add more features "after we get to play with iPhone."We mentioned in our previous post that CRM provider Etelos had created an iPhone version of its product. Today Zoho has
The big question around all of this is: how much adoption will the iPhone get in the enterprise? We know that the iPhone will be mostly a consumer play, as with the majority of Apple products. But on the other hand, the Blackberry has been an enormous success in the enterprise. In many ways, the iPhone will compete with the Blackberry - and it already looks to have much better Web support. Zoho noted this about iPhone in their blog post:
"...a device with a big screen, built in Wi-Fi, good usability and a full fledged browser will only improve the chances of practically using web apps on a mobile device."
Raju Vegesna from Zoho told me they don't have a version for Blackberry and that developing Zoho for the Blackberry would be much more difficult. "iPhone was easy because we didn't do lots of changes", Raju said, "we just supported Safari. But that's not the case with Blackberry. We'd have to do a specific version for it, as it is not a full fledged browser."
Conclusion: Watch out Blackberry!
In response to a question from Simon Leyland about business use of the iPhone in our previous post, a commenter named Dan responded:
"Simon, I am not sure that iPhones will be less desirable than Blackberry's to the Enterprise. The Exec. and outside sales teams seem to be ideal for browser-based apps that get them their data. Why not? I have been using a Blackberry for years and ready to try something new. I would love to get at my data from a smaller device than a laptop. But I may be the exception to the rule."
I think Dan is right and there will be demand from businesses for the iPhone, despite the higher price. The iPhone has better Web support than the Blackberry and by all accounts is easier to use (although we won't know for sure till Friday). What do you think - will there be demand in the enterprise for the iPhone? How will this affect Blackberry?