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Apple Targeting Business World for the iPhone 338

The New York Times is running a couple of stories about the future of the iPhone in the business world and Apple's plan to maintain control of application development. Now that the iPhone SDK has been released and the "App store" has been demonstrated, Steve Jobs is pushing for the adoption of the iPhone as a standard business tool. In addition, a venture capitalist named John Doerr has launched a $100 million "iFund" to spur development of applications for the iPhone. From the NYTimes: "Mr. Jobs was upfront that there are limitations on what applications can do. He talked about bans on pornography and malicious programs. He also said Apple will not allow any application to be installed on the machine other than through the iTunes store. Nor will applications be permitted that enable an end run around Apple's deals with wireless carriers. Many questions remain unanswered. How much streaming video will Apple allow, because the iPhone is such an interesting video device? Mr. Jobs did say that the application development environment will have a lot of capabilities for video playback. Will Apple allow a service like Last.FM to offer streaming music on the iPhone?"
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Apple Targeting Business World for the iPhone

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  • What Apple is doing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by downix ( 84795 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:16AM (#22674204) Homepage
    Right now Apple is proving the market for such a device, and then products like OpenMoko will come in and claim it, using the iPhone as R&D to prove concept but without encumbering themselves as Apple is doing.
    • I don't think a phone without a camera, 3G, only tri-band and no wifi is going to make as big of a splash as you think.

      No, grumpy old farts on slashdot that "just want a phone" don't count.
      • I don't think a phone without a camera, 3G, only tri-band and no wifi is going to make as big of a splash as you think.

        Actually the lack of a camera is a requirement for many businesses. I can't take a phone with a camera into many of our facilities, it is a very common policy in large companies.

        The lack of 3G is a serious problem but it is definitely on the way, it was originally promised for 1Q 2008. This announcement looks to me as if it is either being made in place of the 3G announcement after an

      • by SkyDude ( 919251 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:02AM (#22675238)

        No, grumpy old farts on slashdot that "just want a phone" don't count.

        Hey, us grumpy old farts resent that and we don't want "just a phone". What we want is for you whippersnappers to stay off our lawns!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jbrw ( 520 )
      It'll be like the market for portable mp3 players all over again!

    • Right now Apple is proving the market for such a device, and then products like OpenMoko will come in and claim it, using the iPhone as R&D to prove concept but without encumbering themselves as Apple is doing.

      Is OpenMoko/Android going to eat the iPhone's lunch? It's all about the ECOSYSTEM. If Apple's ecosystem is open enough, then it will eat OpenMoko/Android's lunch. If Apple's ecosystem is too closed, then OpenMoko/Android is going to prevail. No one can beat market forces, though you can subvert them to your ends like Microsoft (Windows) and Apple (iPod/iTunes) has. If someone's stranglehold on the platform is too big a price to pay, you will enable the competitors.

  • Limitations (Score:4, Insightful)

    by imamac ( 1083405 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:18AM (#22674216)
    Those limitations aren't really limitations. They're just no-brainers. There is almost nothing you can't do with the SDK.
  • I love how apple has declared that their 'controls' are actually 'freeing' the phone. Yes, now that you can put apps on the phone, it is a 'more' open platform. But you STILL have to go through apple, and since it is *MY* phone, why can't I do whatever *I* want to it?

    ... oh wait ... I can ... apple just doesn't like it ;)

    This is the same problem sony has with the psp (although, it has some differences as well) - If I want custom firmware on my psp, who is sony to tell me no?

    I don't like where this at
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Actually you can put it on your phone, just through the the SDK as they showed last night in the QT stream. So you can develop apps for yourself if you want, just not for others.
      • by TheLostSamurai ( 1051736 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:03AM (#22675244)
        Not to mention that many (independent)developers will probably offer their apps as open source, which will allow you to compile and load them onto your own phone via the SDK. And even forgetting about that for the moment, there will be a hacked App loader developed within the first week of the June firmware's release anyways.
    • by pev ( 2186 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:02AM (#22674550) Homepage

      since it is *MY* phone, why can't I do whatever *I* want to it?

      You can do whatever you want with it - it's just that Apple won't make it easy for you as that's their perogative. If you don't like it, don't whinge, buy an open platform instead. If you don't like the platforms that are available, get involved and create what you're looking for yourself. Once you've done that you can decide yourself what rights others have to do what they want with your device. If you've invested lots of time and money creating it maybe you might find that you want to look at things differently in order to recoup your costs...
  • He talked about bans on pornography...

    Most businessmen will want it. It will save the travelling businessmen from the embarrassment of "pay per view" tv stations appearing on the bill.
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:24AM (#22674254) of the major questions. Jobs was explicitly asked if VoIP apps would be allowed. Jobs explicitly answered that they would be via WiFi, but not via the carrier connection.

    So I think the question of how much data usage will be "allowed" for heavy use applications is essentially unlimited via WiFi.

    As carriers continue to build out their data networks, as competition continues, and as higher bandwidth (e.g., 3G) iPhones become available (which has already been confirmed by Apple and AT&T several times), then we may see the landscape change for apps that use the carrier's network. It seems right now a common sense approach will be applied.

    But it also seems clear that anything (as long as it's not specifically for porn, illegal, etc.) will be allowed via WiFi.
  • Who is John Doerr? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chiph ( 523845 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:25AM (#22674278)

    In addition, a venture capitalist named John Doerr

    If you don't know who John Doerr [] is by now, you need to turn in your Silicon Valley geek credentials.

    Chip H.
    • '...a venture capitalist named John Doerr has launched a $100 million "iFund"'

      If you don't know who John Doerr is by now, you need to turn in your Silicon Valley geek credentials.

      Dude, YOU need to turn in your geek credentials: here at /., you should just have left it with your subject title, "Who is John Doerr," and let the crowd relish in the sarcasm/irony/humor/whatever...

    • by kellyb9 ( 954229 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @11:25AM (#22675508)

      Who is John Doerr?
      Doesn't he make tractors?
  • Android (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 )
    Apple has failed to notice that there is nothing the iPhone's OS does that Android cannot do. Slap Android on a pure touchscreen phone and what do you have?

    Oh, right. Instant replacement for the iPhone in the making, and it's open. Google is not being authoritarian like Apple.

    Even Nintendo was not this bad back with the NES. Dear God, you'd think that Jobs wanted to have his coveted little space, even if it's small, just because he can be king of the compost pile over there.
    • Re:Android (Score:4, Funny)

      by CrackedButter ( 646746 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @09:56AM (#22674480) Homepage Journal
      Does this touch screen phone have a shiny Apple on its back though? Until then it isn't an instant replacement is it? :-P
    • Re:Android (Score:5, Interesting)

      by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:42AM (#22674990) Homepage
      "Slap Android on a pure touchscreen phone and what do you have?"

      A phone that's not available? That has no supporting infrastructure? No stores that sell it? No support staff ready, willing, and able to help? No iTunes? No backing from any major carrier? And no one, other than a few geeks, who care if it's "open", closed, or just cracked ajar?
    • Re:Android (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:43AM (#22675014) Journal
      I agree that Apple has decided to cripple the iPhone to the point that even with the SDK, it is useless, especially for business.

      However, Google's Android OS is not and will never be a replacement for the iPhone or any other powerful smartphones, especially those running Windows Mobile. Consider: []
      Q: Can I write code for Android using C/C++?
      A: Android only supports applications written using the Java programming language at this time.
      Google has decided that developers cannot write powerful native binary applications for Android phone, which is important for high performance cryptographically secure applications. How is Apple any worse than Google which only allows interpreted programs, when since the launch of the iPhone, developers could always write Javascript interpreted programs, and now even some native ones as well through the iStore?

      As a Unix (NetBSD, Linux, & MacOSX) person, I hate to say this, but so far Microsoft is the good guy here, since their smartphones and Windows Mobile devices have the least restrictions for third party applications and developers.

      Another problem with Android is that all of the proposed new phones (none of which have been released yet) for it will only have low-resolution QVGA (240x320) displays, which is literally half of the HVGA (320x480) display of the iPhone which has been available for more than half a year. This will make Android much harder to use for web surfing, office apps, etc. than the iPhone, or even Microsoft Windows Mobile phones, some of which have WVGA (800x480) displays.

      Toshiba G900 []
      Softbank X01T []

      Don't get me wrong, I love the look, feel, shape, sleekness, GUI, and interface of the iPhone and iPod touch. It blows everything else away. But as a business tool, Apple has decided too crippled its devices to the point that of being useless, especially when compared the uglier and bulky Windows Mobile phones.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by radish ( 98371 )
        I agree that Apple has decided to cripple the iPhone to the point that even with the SDK, it is useless, especially for business.

        Why do you say this? I don't think the iPhone is "useless", in fact it's the most useful phone I've ever owned. As for the business perspective, I work for a "large company", and I carry a blackberry (the defacto business-oriented mobile device). I don't see anything that my blackberry does that the iPhone won't be able to do with the new sdk & exchange integration.

        Google has
    • Re:Android (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MidKnight ( 19766 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:46AM (#22675064)

      Let's take a look at a few reasons why Apple is currently doing pretty well in the smart phone market:

      • Exquisite User Interface. I'm sure you can do a lot with Android (haven't looked at the SDK myself yet, but am curious), but the fact is that Apple's UI is the result of a significant amount of R & D. They have a head start on anyone else attempting to do something similar.
      • iTunes Store/Music/Videos. With the iPhone, you get an iPod as well. Show me any other mobile device that has so clearly dominated its market in the last 10 years. If nothing else than a digital distribution channel, this is a huge advantage over any Android-based phone.
      • Visual Voicemail. Apple's requirement that their carriers tear apart their voicemail systems is a boon for the consumer. Some might even call it innovation :) While Android-based cell phones could mimic this, again Apple has a big head start.
      • Experience in the mobile hardware space. Apple is taking what they learned from their years of building iPods and leveraging it to build better phones. Using a strategy they are very familiar with, Apple controls the entire user experience. Android-based phones will be collaborations between companies, which may dilute the user experience. If you look at the desktop analogy, would you say a Windows Vista desktop is an "... Instant replacement ..." for a Mac?

      Look, I think Android will be a good platform, and that Google is going to put a lot of muscle behind it to limit Microsoft's reach in the mobile space and push their own interests instead. But saying "... Slap Android on a pure touchscreen phone ... [and you get an] ... Instant replacement for the iPhone ..." is a big, big stretch.

      • by Inda ( 580031 )
        Are Apple really doing that well? I've yet to see one in the UK. Name me another phone on the market, and yes, I've probably seen it.

        I have a 4gb micro-sd card in my phone. How does the iPhone top this? I can bluetooth MP3s to it, use the cable that came with the phone, upload MP3s to my webserver and download them on the phone, MMS them, the list goes on.

        Visual Voicemail? My phones have done that via MMS for years. MMS is far more powerful too.

        Their hardware experience is so-say. My phone is the size of a
    • Google doesn't yet have a carrier signed up (yes they are on the working groups), so we don't really know what sort of limitations those carriers will impose. android may be open but the carrier network is not and then OEM or even the distributor of the phones made to run Android may have a different take on it.

      If google makes the phone AND provides the service then of course they could open the whole thing BUT that will certainly limit their distribution channels and that would kill the platform before it
  • It appears the iPhone is almost ready for serious use - add 3G and they have a serious tool rather than just an unfinished toy which is all it's been up to now.

    Get TomTom on that and I'm there.
    • You mean like the unfinished toys RIM puts out with EDGE only*?

      *Yes, I know the CDMA Blackberrys are EV-DO
      • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )
        Well, if there were multiple daily articles on Slashdot about that product as well, maybe people would complain about that too.
  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:01AM (#22674524) Homepage Journal
    As I understand it, the SDK is free, but apps made with the free version can only be run on the iPhone simulator. If you pay $99, you can compile apps and beta test them on an iPhone connected to the dev machine with the standard cable, as well as sell your apps through Apple.

    The big unanswered question for me is 'can I unplug my iPhone and still use my beta App?'. If the answer is yes, then open source software can be spread without going through Apple simply by sharing the source code. If this is the case then paying the developer fee amounts to unlocking the phone's app restrictions.

    Has anyone tried this yet?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by teh kurisu ( 701097 )

      Not quite. As I understand it, the SDK is free, and you can compile apps and beta test them on an iPhone connected to the dev machine with the standard cable. If you pay $99, you can sell your apps through Apple.

      But your big unanswered question still stands, and is one I'm going to be putting to the test once I get to grips with the SDK.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by keytoe ( 91531 )

        I downloaded the SDK yesterday. You cannot even BUILD a deployable target without the key. It throws an actual build error indicating that it cant find your key in the Keychain.

        The only thing you can do without the key, from what I can tell, is run apps in the simulator (which sucks, by the way).

  • by FuzzyDaddy ( 584528 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:01AM (#22674538) Journal
    A few years ago, a couple we know was going through infertility treatments. Part of these treatments, of course, required the husband to go in and produce a... well, a sample. He found the porn provided unsatisfactory, so he downloaded a bunch of pictures onto his PDA.

    And now Steve Jobs wants to stand in the way of all those infertile couples who want to have children!

    • by MrMickS ( 568778 )
      roflmao ... I wish I had some mod points left
    • HEHE awesome!

      Though it does have the full internet, he's not blocking the internet, which has TONS of porn. He's just not going to allow porn software installed, which I guess means no strip poker, etc. Damn. Wonder if I can get cartoon porn through them :/
  • With unlocking already done, 3g and vpn support around the corner, etc. and the 100 million with caveats that unlocking-style edits aren't getting the money, what exactly are they thinking of in terms of development here? I'd just as soon use the 100 million to pay off a distributor, get 100 million in unlocked iphones, sell them on ebay and use the profits to pay off the AT&T/Apple servitude so everyone can just buy the thing straight from Apple already unlocked.
  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:05AM (#22674572)
    Steve Jobs presentation from yesterday is available on the Apple site. Could anyone who complains about the lack of Microsoft Exchange compatibility please watch the keynote first. Most of the posts so far can be answered by saying "You may not have watched the keynote yesterday, but..."
    • by MrMickS ( 568778 )
      You must be new here. This is slashdot where the majority of comments are made based entirely on a persons feelings without needing the troublesome task of having to read the articles. They know what is best so just state their ideas.
  • John Doerr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mark_in_Brazil ( 537925 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @10:11AM (#22674636)
    In my opinion, John Doerr is much more than "a" venture capitalist. Let me explain that statement in detail. Bear with me- I'm verbose, so it'll take a few paragraphs.
    Doerr is a really sharp guy who saw potential in companies like Compaq, Sun, Symantec, Netscape, Amazon, and Google. The thing is that Doerr knows how to look at a business plan, understand the market opportunity a company wants to try to exploit, and have an idea of how likely the company is to be successful at doing it. So yes, Netscape, Amazon, and Google were "internet companies," but they were also companies with business plans that had not-entirely-ridiculous paths to profitability. Keep in mind that VCs typically have an awful "batting average" and invest in a lot more duds than eventual superstars, but the really big successes are generally good enough to make the overall average ROI, including the flops, quite positive.
    A big part of the problem in the late 1990s is that a lot of VCs looked at Doerr's investments and basically came to this conclusion: "Doerr made a load of money for Kleiner Perkins by investing in the internet, so we have to invest in the internet." So in the late 1990s, many businesses that were basically "just like [whatever], but on the internet) were given ridiculous amounts of funding even when there was no clear path to profitability in the business plan. Yes, it's true that a VC firm can still make money in an environment like that of the mid-to-late 1990s by funding a company and taking it public as soon as it starts to show revenue growth, getting a big ROI on something that is never going to be profitable. But eventually the house of cards falls and then there's an overreaction as people say "oh, we lost all this money investing in the internet, so now we should avoid such investments," even when a good business plan appears.

    I worked at a software startup in 1999. We had tests done with major retailers that proved we could increase the profitability of a given category anywhere from 25% to over 100%, depending on what the retailer's strategy was for that category (read up on "category management" for more info on category strategies). In the meetings with arrogant moron VCs, the founders would tell them about this and show them the actual data that supported the claim, plus testimonials from executives in the (multi-billion dollar) retailers where the tests were done, and the VCs' eyes would kind of glaze over. As soon as the founders stopped talking, the VCs would say something like "uh huh... so, what's your internet story." I suggested to the guy who had the original idea for the company that we should change the name to "e-[original name of company].com" and we'd be swimming in money.
    The saddest thing was that apparently one such moron was from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, which was widely seen as the VC firm at the time, in no small part due to the remarkable business vision of John Doerr. It would have been more accurate, from what I heard from very reliable sources, to say that Kleiner Perkins was a good VC firm with VCs of varying quality (yes, a high average, though), and John Doerr was the venture capitalist.

    I'm not a fan of VCs in general, but I have a lot of respect for John Doerr. And if he's setting up a fund this big for iPhone app development, that makes me think very good things are coming for Apple through the iPhone. Very good things.
    As always, YMMV.
  • Sure, encrypted connection, but no mention of on-device encryption, which RIM supports and your administrator can require through policy. So that's not going to be a big plus for corporate and government. Then there's the fact that on contract pricing, an organization can get a Blackberry Curve with BES support (some of the discounted consumer units don't support the Blackberry Enterprise Server) for under $100. Are they going to support central logging of IM client messages to/from the device? Again, somet
  • The Fortune Magazine article, The iPhone gets a $100 million iFund [], says:

    In typical Silicon Valley hyperbole Doerr summed up the move as the beginning of a new world order. The iPhone, he said, is "bigger than the personal computer..."

    The iPhone is locked to one provider. The iPhone will soon have unlocked competitors. It certainly will never be "bigger than the personal computer". The iPhone is basically only another cellular phone, and most people use their phones only to make phone calls.

    • by Andy_R ( 114137 )
      The article does NOT say the investing company will get 30%.

      You're mixing up Apple's AppStore distribution method (which takes 30%) with the iFund which is run by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Whatever deal a given developer thrashes out with them is their trade secret.
    • by spooje ( 582773 )

      The iPhone is locked to one provider. The iPhone will soon have unlocked competitors. It certainly will never be "bigger than the personal computer". The iPhone is basically only another cellular phone, and most people use their phones only to make phone calls.

      Well, if you're just counting the US, sure. In Japan and most east Asian countries people live on their phones and expect them to do things like: have real e-mail, view webpages, gps and have services like weather, train schedules and whatnot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by *weasel ( 174362 )
      Whether it's the iPhone or not is debatable; but that sort of handheld-computer-masquerading-as-a-phone is going to be bigger than the personal computer.

      In fact, I would go so far as to say that within 10 years, that sort of handheld will be most people's personal computers. Laptops are already edging out desktops, as they're typically as powerful and as expensive for most users - and far more flexible. It won't be long before handhelds edge out laptops for the same reason. And the longer that single-thr

  • My excitement over the SDK was somewhat doused when I read it isn't PPC compatible. Since my best Mac is a G4 powerbook, that would have been my environment for coding my dream iPhone app. I don't have the resources to buy a new Intel powerbook just to code apps for my iPhone.

    Exploring options, I found that the OSX86 scene is thriving [] with successful installs on beige box PCs. Now I can turn my quad-core 2.4 ghz intel box into an iPhone IDE! Hooray!

  • According to this article [] Apple also licensed Microsoft ActiveSync to sync iPhones with MS-Exchange Servers.

    This would make iPhones a serios competetor to business phones like Blackberrys et al.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban