Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Handhelds Iphone Operating Systems Upgrades Apple

What iOS 4 Does (and Doesn't Do) For Business 253

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Galen Gruman investigates what businesses can expect from Apple's new iOS 4. Multitasking, the biggest new capability, is for now simply a promise, as apps will need to be retrofitted to make use of the capability. The other big new capability for IT, a set of APIs that allow BlackBerry-like management of the iPhone, such as auditing of policies and apps, over-the-air provisioning of apps without iTunes, and over-the-air configuration and policy management, also remains in the realm of promise, as the various mobile management tools that have been reworked to take advantage of the new iOS 4 capabilities won't be available until July or later. And despite the fact that email works more as it does on the desktop, iOS 4 still fails to deliver several email capabilities key to business users, including zipped attachment management, junk mail filtering, message rules, and message flagging."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What iOS 4 Does (and Doesn't Do) For Business

Comments Filter:
  • Email capabilities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:09PM (#32654374)

    iOS 4 still fails to deliver several email capabilities key to business users, including zipped attachment management, junk mail filtering, message rules, and message flagging.

    What F'd up sadistic moron would push the junk mail filtering, message rules, and flagging down to the client? Wouldn't that mean that each client would be configured separately? I always set up that stuff so the user can configure it at the server level so that their laptop, desktop, phone, etc all are seeing the same exact mailstore. These are probably the same people that considering having "Sent Items" only stored on the actual device that did the sending be the way to go.

    • I'm not sure thats how it is set up. I can't imagine connecting an iPhone to my gmail account and having my junkmail filters not apply.

      I think the reason why the iOS4 might "fail to deliver" those email capabilities is BECAUSE they are handled by the email server. Perhaps the issue is that the iPhone cannot change those settings from the device, but thats not to say the settings aren't still there. After all, any phone I've ever heard of phone just requests the headers of your inbox, and then when you choos

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The iPhone does not have client filters, client spam management, or client-based flagging. Of those three, the only one that actually makes sense on the client is flagging.

        Filtering at the client level only makes sense if you only have one client, are using POP3, and are storing the messages on the client. That's really not a good idea with a phone - you'll have synchronization collisions, you'll find that some mail is missing on your phone that was present on your laptop/desktop, etc. If you're using a pho

      • by Altus ( 1034 )

        The junkmail filters on the server continue to apply. The complaint is that you cant set up filters on the phone. Kind of silly though since you want the messages filtered out before they are shipped down to the device. Why pay for wireless bandwidth for spam?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nine-times ( 778537 )

      If you're the user and your server isn't doing a good enough job filtering junk mail, then you'll want junk filtering in the client. And regardless of that, you may want support for configuring your junk mail options in the client, such as marking messages as junk for bayesian analysis. Same basic idea for the rest of this stuff.

      Part of the problem is that email itself isn't very well designed for how most of us currently use email. It's simple, which is nice, but it's not built to address complex filte

      • by jimicus ( 737525 )

        You know, we have all these fancy filtering and tagging things but outside of IT, I don't think I've ever seen a single one used.

        The only thing I have seen used is folders, but then the end-user almost invariably moves email into folders by hand.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nine-times ( 778537 )

          I've seen plenty of people use Outlook's "Rules", even some relatively non-technical people. One of the problems there is that mail servers (excepting Exchange) don't usually have good server-side filtering along with client-side configuration of that filtering.

          I don't bother setting up client-side filtering on my personal email account because it only works if that client, and I don't always check my email from the same client.

          I don't bother tagging my email because it's not something that's handled con

        • by dave562 ( 969951 )

          I see the exact opposite. I rarely use any filters or tags on my emails. I sort them the old fashioned way with folders for each category and a whole slew of rules to filter them on arrival. On the other hand whenever I visit various executive assistants workstations, they seem to have everything filtered and categorized and tagged up the wazoo. It seems to functionality that is appreciated.

      • If you're the user and your server isn't doing a good enough job filtering junk mail, then you'll want junk filtering in the client.

        If you're the user and your server isn't doing a good enough job filtering junk mail, then you'll want a better configured server. In alternative, I'd set up a relay server to fetch the messages from the main server, filter them and then serve them to the client(s).

        • Nice if you're the IT guy and not just the user. Savvy users might still do something like have Gmail fetch their mail from another service, but not everyone is going to be eager to do that.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      What moron wants to open a zipped file attachment on his PHONE. I want to see the email is there, then I open my laptop and grab the full email and do what I want.

      I keep hearing this red-herring about attachments and zipped attachments on email on phones, and can not find one person that actually truely needs or would use this. What complete fool is gonna open a zip, open the spreadsheet and then edit it on his fricking phone? None. you see it's there, drop into the nearest coffee shop, whip open that

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afidel ( 530433 )
        Hahaha, sounds like someone who hasn't grasped the concept of a smartphone. I can literally do everything I can do on a laptop on my phone just slightly slower. That's why despite bringing my laptop on my last trip out of town it was only used to watch movies because everything else was taken care of from my phone. I wouldn't have even brought the laptop except I was on call last week and needed to be able to respond at 100% efficiency if there had been an outage. My CEO and chairman of the board both have
    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      Not everyone is running off a corporate email system with such functionality performed server side, in fact I was listening to NPR last night and they were talking about something like 19% of latino homes the phone is the only point of internet access.
    • I agree with 66% of your message.

      It's actually very handy being able to flag a message in my inbox from my mobile device (as well as complete the flag or clear it), assuming of course that it is sync'd back to the server (which is what happens with Exchange 2010).

      So when I see an email come in (on my mobile or my workstation) that is very important, I can flag it.

      Then whenever I'm looking at my inbox on my mobile it will stand out, and likely remind me to take care of it. And after I have, I can flag it co

  • Shouldn't (mass) junk be filtered at the server level (especially in an enterprise setting)? Even in personal email, I rely on my provider to do most of the heavy lifting of SPAM removal for me.
    • Shouldn't (mass) junk be filtered at the server level (especially in an enterprise setting)?
      Even in personal email, I rely on my provider to do most of the heavy lifting of SPAM removal for me.


      Sure, some of it is going to get through... But it shouldn't be enough that managing junk mail should be a major feature on a smartphone.

      If you've got that much junk mail coming through to your phone, you need to look at how it is (or isn't) being filtered at the server.

  • by unsmashed ( 530825 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:12PM (#32654406)

    One thing I miss is the ability to do different notifications based on filters / profiles set up. The Blackberry can do this by flagging certain messages as a "Level 1 Notification" and then you can set normal messages to come in quietly, but Level 1 messages can vibrate, ring, whatever you configure it to do. It's great to get notified when your boss or superior email you, but let the other 200 emails a day just collect quietly.

    The other feature I wish existed is when I reply to a message on my iPhone, that it shows up in Outlook as replied to (via the Exchange ActiveSync). Without it, there's sometimes confusion whether I've replied to this or not when reviewing the emails on my desktop.

    • Not sure if this works on the iPhone, as I'm not sure what level of GMail Integration is present there, but if you happen to be using GMail, try the following:

      Have the messages you don't want to bother you set to be moved to a label and immediately archived, via a filter... Gmail will then no longer notify for these messages, because it only notifies for things that actually land in the inbox. Since this works for Gtalk and Gmail notifier on the PC as well as on the Android GMail app, I'm presuming it'd wor

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Polo ( 30659 ) *

      I agree.

      And Calendar appointments too. The default alarm is short, doesn't repeat and completely ineffective.

      Some appointments are life-threatening if you miss them: Pick up the kids, tax audit, anniversary...

  • The mac (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:12PM (#32654410) Homepage
    Reminds me of a Mac commercial parody from years ago:
    'You know all the games for the Mac are great because you played them a PC three years ago'

    The iPhone, with its quality touch screen and beautiful, lickable looks, continues to announce 'amazing new features' that have been available in Blackberrys (Blackberries?) for nearly a decade.
    • Re:The mac (Score:5, Funny)

      by archmcd ( 1789532 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:15PM (#32654438)
      The politically correct term is actually "berries of color."
    • >> The iPhone, with its quality touch screen and beautiful, lickable looks, continues to announce 'amazing new features' that have been available in Blackberrys (Blackberries?) for nearly a decade.

      There's a difference in philosophy here... Apple may be slow with some things like that, but when they do release it, they do it DAMN well (in most cases... at least). Quality and user experience rank much higher for them than simple feature list comparisons - and that's the single reason they have a highly

      • Re:The mac (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:49PM (#32654910) Homepage

        Yeah, I got kind of sold on the "it's even better than the iPhone" Android hype and got myself an HTC Incredible. Now obviously this is a matter of personal needs and personal preference, but I now consider that purchase to be a mistake.

        For one thing, and this is only the most blatant problem, the damned thing crashes all the time. It's not too bad, but I feel it vibrate in my pocket, and when I check the phone, it's rebooting. But all in all, it's a pretty minor problem.

        The bigger problem, though more subtle, is that the UI design is kind of a mess. I don't mean "the GUI is not pretty", but that the user interaction is unclear. For example, calendar events pop up in the notification area, but if you clear that notification, you have not dismissed it; it will pop up again in a couple minutes. Or there's a "favorites" widget for your favorite contacts that notifies you when those contacts' Facebook status has been updated, but if you press on that notification, it immediately calls that contact.

        More generally, a lot of the user interaction is hidden in context menus and under the menu button. It's sometimes unclear what hitting a given button will actually do. I feel like I'm constantly jumping through hoops to get the damned thing to do what I want.

        To my mind, it doesn't matter "who did it first". The question is, right now, what's the best phone you can buy. As far as I'm concerned, the iPhone is it.

        • Not to diminish your experiences, but I've never felt the UI on my Droid was lacking. Whatever I need to do is in a place I'd expect to find it, I just go by intuition and it works.

          I believe you when you say it doesn't work for you, of course. I just wanted to underscore your point, that it is a matter of personal preference.

    • Re:The mac (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:32PM (#32654660)
      A Blackberry started as a business smartphone and has slowly added features to be more consumer friendly. Apple is coming from the other direction. It is a consumer smartphone first with some business features added later. Both phones continue to be strong in their initial markets but is somewhat lacking in other markets.
    • Blackberrys (Blackberries?)

      Crackberries. "Marion" for short.

    • Re:The mac (Score:5, Insightful)

      by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @01:00PM (#32655024)
      Who gives a fuck who did it first. The iPhone does it now, that's all that matters. You can say, "But... but my phone did it FIRST!" all you want, and nobody else is going to care.
    • Blackberrys (Blackberries?)

      Corporate/Product words fall outside of normal English rules. You will often have words created which include letters from other alphabets, intentional misspellings, even numbers. An easy way to break it down is to treat trademarked names as adjectives attached to common nouns.

      Pontiac Cars instead of Pontiacs.
      Blackberry Phones instead of blackberries.

      In a way, it provides a very crude metric for determining when these words fall into the vernacular. When people begin to treat

  • And a huge fail, at least for many business folks, is the lack of being able to dial phone numbers that are sent in the location field of meetings. According to Apple support, the world is supposed to all start sending conference bridge numbers in the body of meetings. Good luck with that, Apple.
    • Perhaps you mean a huge failure?

    • You could also blame MS for making the bridge field really really really hard to find. I don't see why Apple can't just dial whatever is in the location field though.

    • Can you copy-and-paste the 14-digit conference code + security code now? That's the one that kills me.

  • message rules are on the exchange server. junk mail is handled by the SMTP gateway.
    BES does have an advantage since they have years of development lead time, but Apple/MS are catching up fairly fast. and the Apple/MS activesync solution is a lot cheaper and no server required. we've had a BES server for years and rarely used most of the management features. doesn't mean people don't use them, but a lot of organizations don't care to lock down people's cell phones. you can also write web apps with no itunes

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:15PM (#32654444) Homepage Journal
    including zipped attachment management, junk mail filtering, message rules, and message flagging.

    I am surprised that all these capability are needed for a mobile client. In particular, i would think corporate would want to junk email filtering at the server, otherwise there would be risk that an individual user might overfilter.

    Likewise zipped attachments are something that is used for desktop, but I don't know why anyone would use them on a mobile device, but then I don't see why i get memos in MS Word format instead of PDF. Sometimes the feature bloat drives the bad habits. I suppose that on some mobile devices application installation might happen through email.

    I would also like to see message rule and flagging pushed back to the server. I might be using one of four machines to look at mail. Everything is stored on the server. Keeping the rules consistant on all machines can be a pain. It would be much better to be able to set up one server to check mail, then reroute, then all the other machines feed off that. When I used to one machines going all the time at home, this more or less happened.

    In any case many of these complaints seem more about wanting to do things the old fashion way rather than genuine functionality. It is like complaining that Python does not have a traditional loop. Get over it.

    • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `vdalived'> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:40PM (#32654766) Homepage

      Junk mail, rules, and filtering absolutely should happen at the server level if you are using Exchange or IMAP, and any business still using POP for email is just shooting themselves in the foot for not understanding their tech better.

      However, unzipping would be kind of nice. People send attachments to each other all the time, and email servers have attachment limits. New iPhone users will also have limited data bandwidth. It would be nice if someone could send me that file zipped to 20-50% so I could save time. It takes less time to download files than it does to unzip them and in advanced situations with larger files every little bit helps. Granted, you may be correct in that there are better solutions than trying to email me a 250 MB spreadsheet on a device that probably can't display it in a sophisticated manner.

    • I use zip files all the time on my phone, they're useful for all kinds of reasons, such as to get around email servers aggresively blocking things like .js files, or when someone needs to preserve a directory hierarchy in a bunch of emailed files (i.e. they need me to debug some web code). Some devices might put all downloads into one directory, in which case if someone's emailing me fifty icons to approve, I'd rather they sent them as a zip that I can easily locate and move to my desired directory than hav

    • The point is every business user has different needs, and an organization can contain hundreds of different subsets of "needs." It may be multiple ways to get the same thing done, but what works for one may not work for another.

      Apple is used to telling its users what they want, but that won't fly with the corporate market. The business market already has many other options willing to take it in the ass for a contract. Anecdotal evidence on usage means nothing.

    • GoodReader is an excellent app for downloading zip files and unzipping the contents. You can even tap on the attachment's icon in Apple Mail and it will launch GoodReader automatically. $3, but complaining is free.
    • One of my clients has automated scripts that zip any file over 20k. Every spreadsheet gets zipped... not being able to access the archives is quite a PITA.

  • The lack of filtering on mail is my biggest complaint (iPhone and iPad too)... it makes using mail frustrating to say the least. I really don't understand how difficult that would be!!!

  • Why do we accept Apple's glorified Suspend/Resume functionality as "multitasking?" Can my app be performing tasks in the background while I'm using another application? No? Well that's not multitasking then, is it?
    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:35PM (#32654716) Homepage

      Can my app be performing tasks in the background while I'm using another application?

      Yes. Apple has made it so that your entire application won't continue to run in the background, but that you can still have your application "performing tasks" (so long as it fits within the supported background "tasks").

      From what I understand, Android does something similar. It's not crazy. It actually makes a whole hell of a lot of sense. If I'm reading an ebook, for example, I don't need to have my iPhone's system resources taken up trying to display a particular page that won't be displayed anyway because it's in the background. On a device with limited resources, it's better to suspend that whole application to free up resources.

      So similarly with a browser, you don't need your browser actually trying to display web pages that aren't being displayed. All you need to do is enable background downloading. Downloading is pretty much the only thing that you actually want a browser to do in the background. Pretty much the only thing you want Skype to do in the background is receive calls. Pretty much the only thing you want Pandora to do in the background is download streaming audio and output it to the headphones-- you don't need Pandora to try to render album art that won't be displayed.

      • The problem lies wherein you want an app to do something in the background, and Apple doesn't.

        • by Late Adopter ( 1492849 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @01:01PM (#32655028)

          The problem lies wherein you want an API to do something, and it doesn't.

          FTFY. This isn't in any way a new problem. Witness Hildon/Maemo, and Android. They all have approaches for handling multiple user-interfacing applications and how they interact with power management. Apple has chosen an approach, and it looks good enough for 99% of use cases. Everyone who is still complaining at this point will continue to do so until they get real preemptive multithreading, which is not necessarily wise to allow for arbitrary apps on a mobile platform.

          Even more generally than all that: An API does something, but you want it to do something else? Name me an API that *doesn't* have that problem. Combating feature creep and having a consistent and sensible development paradigm is really *hard*, and it looks like Apple is serious about it.

      • I often find myself alt-tabbing away from the browser on my Android device to talk on IRC while pages load, only to come back and find the browser was suspended in the background. Fuck.
      • Yes. Apple has made it so that your entire application won't continue to run in the background, but that you can still have your application "performing tasks" (so long as it fits within the supported background "tasks").

        From what I understand, Android does something similar.

        It does, but it also does proper background threads. They are complementary techniques, and the former is not a proper replacement for the latter.

    • by shawnce ( 146129 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:40PM (#32654770) Homepage

      If your app plays audio (for whatever reason) it WILL run in the background. (audio background mode)

      If your VoIP app needs to maintain a network connection with a backend system so it can be told of incoming calls it WILL run in the background but only when network traffic is incoming or at a time you designate so you can keep your network connection alive. (voip background mode)

      If your app needs to track your location it WILL run in the background with the level of location accuracy you designate. (location background mode)

      (you can combine any combination of the above modes)

      If your app needs to finish an active task, one that is not easily paused, it WILL run in the background.

      If your application needs to do things at predetermined time you can schedule it and your app WILL run in the background. []

    • Suspend/Resume is just what you get by recompiling with the new libraries. There's an API if you want to do more. But when you think about it, retrofitting suspend/resume with just a recompile as actually pretty neat.
  • I've been reading message board forums that claim the following bugs:
    • Installer ignores the user request to update without a restore - this can mean it takes up to several hours to apply the update while it syncs all of your files. I'm not sure if the phone is accessible while the restore is happening
    • MMS feature no longer allows attaching pictures or video to text messages for some users
    • Landscape mode doesn't work for some users in the iPod app - even with the screen orientation locking option turned off
  • Message rules belong on the server not in the client. The same goes for filtering of junkmail. Why in the world have a server then push all the work on the client?

    • As long as you can filter on arbitrary header substrings then it's reasonable to offload all of that to the mailhost, which can also run a webserver exclusively for the manipulation of lists (or that can, of course, be separated.) Most filter solutions (including Spamassassin, of course) will tweak headers with spam scores so that the users can file them on the client end.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        No matter what you filter on, on a well designed system you can have the mailhost handle that.

  • by bds1986 ( 1268378 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:39PM (#32654758)

    I'm kind of surprised the article didn't make any mention of iOS 4's improved data protection methods: []

    In short, the previously flawed encryption method of the 3GS is improved by encrypting the hardware encryption keys with your passcode. Additionally, passcodes can now be alphanumeric and longer than 4 characters.

    If you're using a 3GS and have upgraded to 4.0, you'll need to wipe and restore the phone to take advantage of this (data protection, not the passcode), the link above has details.

  • Poor Apple (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @12:49PM (#32654902) Homepage Journal

    They've only sold a few tens of millions of those things so far, and their new model took five whole hours to sell 600k units to regular customers, sight unseen. They'd better get their act together and start reaching out to the enterprise or that thing's gonna tank and take them with it.

  • Still fails to deliver outdated 1990s email paradigms that only the stodgiest of business users still care about. Flags? Really? If flags are that big a deal, use Gmail via MobileSafari. And show me one phone that junk filters. Damn troll article. How did this actually get posted?
  • Bluetooth Audio? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Meneguzzi ( 935620 ) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @02:08PM (#32656026) Homepage Journal
    I am reluctant to adopt this upgrade on day zero and the only thing that would make me do the upgrade is improved support for BT audio, which pretty much sucks in my iPod touch 2g. I also use the same BT headphones in my Android phone and it works brilliantly, so I wonder, has anybody done this upgrade and tested it with BT headphones like these ones? (
  • I wish Apple would build an update for profiles. I have a Jail broken phone and have a profiles add-on that allows me to set configurations for different things.

    For example,
    When I am at work my ringer turns off, vibrate goes on, WIFI turns off, 3G turns off, and notifications turn on.
    When I get home, my WIFI turns back on, 3G turns back on, notifications turn off.

    All that, and more happen based on time of day and GPS coordinates. It would also be great if they could make icons disappear based on profiles. W

  • I used to keep buying into the hype and rail against iPhone and for Android. Now having owned both, I recognize that the comparison itself is silly. Aside the "totalitarian regime" vs "pseudo-capitalism" difference in the platform philosophies, the products are like apples and oranges (pardon the pun). Its like comparing an old school word-processor and a computer(for fairness sake equally old-school) . This is not meant to belittle iPhone, but it is NOT a real smartphone. Its a really advanced feature pho

  • about all the enterprise features they are putting or plan on putting in. I'm looking for the basics such as a VPN connection that will stay up longer than 5 minutes. Why doesn't it reconnect when it fails?

    Yes we talked to Apple support and we couldn't get a resolution.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva