Like the Ipod, one of the great technology revolutions recently has been the introduction of the iPhone. Both of these devices are probably not a massive technological revolution in real terms but they have revolutionized the look, feel, design and way a technology device has been marketed to the masses. Apple is to be congratulated whole heartedly for this, they are masters of the game.
One of the major appeals of the iPhone is not doubt its interface. The ability to drag pages, the appearance and more make it a stand out of design that few other suppliers seem to be able to duplicate (even though it wouldn’t seem that hard). We are yet to see the iPhone here in Australia yet I know that one of the biggest drawbacks it has had is its inability to be used in a corporate environment. The major requirement here is the ability for the phone to sync up with corporate email servers, probably the most popular one being Microsoft Exchange Server. In many cases this has meant that executives had to choose whether to forgo the iPhone for the standard Blackberry (or Windows Mobile device) or carry around two devices.
Well no more. It would seem from this press release that Apple is going to allow the iPhone to work with Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology, which will lay the ground work for the iPhone to sync with Exchange Server. The removal of this barrier will probably see the wide scale adoption of the iPhone in business markets. This spells trouble for Blackberry devices (and Windows Mobile devices as well mind you). The Blackberry maybe functional and maybe already widespread but it lacks one important feature when compared to the iPhone. Coolness.
As the iPod generation begins to make a greater impact on the business world, rising through the ranks, there seems little doubt they will demand the iPhone as the communications device of choice. The acceptance by both Microsoft and Apple that this is in both of their best interests, I believe, is going to make a significant change on the technology landscape in the years ahead. The biggest loser in this change, at the moment, would certainly appear to be Blackberry, however if I was selling Windows Mobile devices I wouldn’t become complacent. Windows Mobile devices probably have one more development cycle left to challenge the iPhone before they too come under significant threat.
When it comes to market share, cool beats functional any day of the week.