SAN FRANCISCO — Judging by the sampling of developers Wired.com quizzed at Apple’s WWDC today, the iPhone will prove to be an attractive platform for both work and play.
And, thanks to the iPhone 3G’s low $200 price tag and its corporate-friendly features, geeks embedded deep within the bowels of corporate America will finally be able to use the Apple phone instead of being stuck with BlackBerry and Palm Treo smartphones.
"I’m excited — I finally get to buy an iPhone," said Michael McDonald, the founder of Animist Notes, an online productivity application, who is looking forward to developing a web- and iPhone-based tool for managing tasks in the style of the popular geek productivity manual Getting Things Done.
"It’s going to be a huge platform," said Victor Barrera Gaviro of Madrid-based Universomac, an Apple services and training company. "It’s going to be much bigger than Palm."
Other developers are excited about the iPhone software development kit’s ability to tie into large enterprise databases.
"With a multi-terabyte database, you can’t put that on a PC or on a handset. But with the iPhone SDK, you can build an app that can access a 3-4 terabyte database," said Lester Knutsen, president of Advanced DataTools. Knutsen also praised the platform’s support for the industry-standard Cisco VPN technology, which will keep data secure as it’s transmitted between a company’s servers and its employees’ iPhones.
Not everyone was captivated by Steve Jobs’ mesmerizing manner, however. Indeed, some observers felt that Jobs looked gaunt and even tired as he delivered an unusually long keynote that was notably lacking in pizazz.
While Apple no longer enjoys a revenue-sharing agreement with AT&T, that carrier is still the sole provider of the iPhone in the United States, a fact which irked Kevin Mitchell of Adobe solutions provider Datalogics, Inc.
"I have a severe dislike and loathing of AT&T. I’d love to see more North American carriers even more than I’d like to see a keyboard," said the BlackBerry-toting, T-Mobile-using developer.
Others had more strategic reasons for being disappointed with the iPhone’s enteprise support.
"They’re missing 50 percent of the e-mail population," complained John Beck, a product manager in IBM’s Lotus division, referring to users of Notes/Domino e-mail servers. While iPhone 2.0 supports Microsoft Exchange mail servers, it lacks any kind of direct connection with Notes.
"The Exchange integration is deep," Beck noted, stating that the iPhone SDK would permit IBM to integrate Notes with the iPhone to some extent, but not as completely as Apple has done with Exchange.
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