Exchange ActiveSync in iPhone

Apple, Exchange
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Courtesy of PC World, Apple today announced that 1.1.5 will ship with Exchange ActiveSync functionality which will, for all intents and purposes, make iPhone “business capable,” more:

Enterprises want great push e-mail–“huge request.” And push calendar information. And push contacts. And a global address list. And Cisco IPsec VPN, and a variety of security-related options. And automated configration options, and remote data wiping just in case the phone is lost or stolen.

“I’m really excited to be the one telling you today we’re doing all these things in the next release of the iPhone software.” Applause.

Back to push. Customers have asked for built-in Microsoft Exchange information. Apple has licensed the ActiveSync technology needed from Microsoft to support Exchange.

Schiller explains how old-school push is complicated and unreliable, then says that ActiveSync is modern, simple, and reliable. iPhone apps like its e-mail and calendar will support it.

He walks over to a podium to demo all this. His phone has no contacts, no events, and no e-mail. But the screen for adding e-mail has a new option: Exhchange. He’s skipping that, but is turning on an Exchange account he had pre-configured. He wants to use ActiveSync for contacts, calendars, and e-mail. He turns them on. “And that’s it.”

His contacts show up, as do his appointments and his e-mail. Apple’s Bob Borchers is in the audience on Wi-Fi helping Schiller with a demo. Schiller creates a new contact, and Borcher confirms that it was instantly synched via Exchange and has shown up on his device.

Next, Schiller goes to mail. Borchers sends him an e-mail. And there it is on Schiller’s phone. Applause. “This is exactly what enterprise customers have asked for.”

Schiller’s looking at his calendar. He asks Borchers to move a meeting up, and the schedule change shows up on Schiller’s iPhone. “All that is happening live.”

Schiller says the last part of the demo is the most fun. He’s saying that maybe he’s lost his iPhone. He asks Borcher to wipe the phone remotely. He does, and Schiller’s phone loses all his data. Applause.

Also interesting is the quote on sales. iPhone is now the second most deployed smartphone (28% market share), second only to Blackberry. I am not sure if Windows Mobile devices are counted under a single brand, or if Samsung Blackjack and AT&T Tilt are two completely different smartphone brands. However you define it, nearly a third of the smartphones on the market now supports Exchange along with its push email and remote wipe. That is… significant.

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