Can agencies take the new iPhones seriously?

Apple’s new lower-cost iPhone 3G moves the smart phone a step further from its consumer roots and closer to a business tool appropriate for public-sector agencies.

For example, the new devices now integrate with Microsoft Exchange Server for secure e-mail. They also support virtual private networks for securely tunneling into databases or applications locked behind agency firewalls. Together, these capabilities raise the stakes necessary for consideration in enterprise environments, said Sean Ryan, a research analyst in IDC’s Mobile Enterprise group.

However, Apple still isn’t giving information technology departments the full-featured device management tools offered by Research in Motion and Microsoft that allow IT shops to centrally control software updates and security policies for their smart phones, Ryan said. Device management consoles can also send a kill pill to lost phones to disable them or wipe clean any agency data housed on the handsets.

The lack of management controls might not be a deal-breaker, depending on an agency’s policies.
“There are a lot of [organizations] out there that don’t use mobile-device management yet, although there should be,” Ryan said.

Also, there are other blots on the iPhone’s allure for business users. One is a dearth of third-party business applications compared with what’s available for BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile devices, Ryan said. Also, Apple’s central activation and applications hub is the company’s iTunes site.
“That’s something that a lot of organizations are maybe a bit less comfortable with,” because of its consumer-oriented look, Ryan added.

About the Author

Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group