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What CIOs want in Apple's next-generation smartphone

What CIOs want in Apple's next-generation smartphone

Wanted: Removable/Replaceable Battery

Currently, iPhone users are stuck with the built-in battery that Apple ships in the devices--and that's a major deterrent to business users, as it means they're dependent on a single charge to get them through long travels and instances where electrical outlets aren't available, Lee says. BlackBerry users, on the other hand, can purchase backup batteries to pop into their smartphones whenever the main power supply is drained.

Lee's not an iPhone user himself, but he's very familiar with the device: New York Media is currently involved in the iPhone 2.0 software beta program, meaning Lee and his team support four iPhone users while they test out Apple's new handheld software. He says New York Media will be supporting mail, contact and calendar synchronization with global address list (GAL) support as soon as the new iPhone is released--though employees must sign the appropriate release forms--but a removable battery and improved warranty would make the device a much more attractive option to his IT department.

Wanted: More Robust Phone Feature Set

It would be great, says Rodgers Builders' Hill, if Apple expanded the iPhone's basic phone features to include the ability to activate the iPhone's Wi-Fi while its radio was turned off.

"I do not have phone service in my office," Hill says. "But I do have Wi-Fi."

He'd also welcome the addition of a phone-based task-tracking feature, or to-do list; voice dialing functionality; the ability to use the iPhone to record conversations or other audio; a phone-based file folder to store documents and other business files; and contact search capability.

A cut-and-paste function would also be a great addition to the iPhone's smartphone features, according to Direct Energy's Scott.

"The iPhone currently lacks cut and paste commands, and this is problematic for me because when I want to send sections of content from e-mail or documents, there's no way to transfer that content into a new message without retyping it," Scott wrote in his CIO.com iPhone review. "It's a function found on most smart phones today."

Scott would also like to see a video recorder come along with the new iPhone, though he admits such a feature may not have many business-specific benefits.

An "Enterprise-Ready" iPhone Next Week?

So if the Apple were to add all the above mentioned features and functionality to the second-generation iPhone, would businesses embrace it with open arms? Would it be truly "enterprise ready?"

"'Enterprise ready' is a misnomer," Brooks says. The real question is whether or not "it will be IT certified. Just like the IM [employees] use that aren't approved, or secure...To argue a phone is or isn't corporate in this day and age is just being narrow minded."

New York Media's Lee doesn't think RIM has anything to immediately worry about, even if Apple does add an external battery and better warranty to the new iPhone.

"I think even with improved battery and warranty, Apple isn't going to win enterprise adoption so quickly. There is a cult of arrogance that comes out of Cupertino -- the "Apple knows what's good for you" mentality," Lee says.

For instance, Lee notes, you can't load whatever software you want on an iPhone without "hacking" it or circumventing Apple's default protections. And users can't open up an iMac to service it, he adds.

"There's a lot of 'can't do' items that make Apple products extremely expensive to own and manage in the enterprise," Lee says. "Like the Blackberry, the iPhone will need to earn its right to live on the hips of executives."

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