The iPhone 4 – the natural choice for business?
Background <ul><li>Apple’s iPhone series has undoubtedly captured the imagination of millions of consumers from around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>As the superbrand’s latest addition continues to fly off the shelves, we’ve taken some time to assess whether or not the iPhone 4 can cut it in the world of business too. </li></ul><ul><li>The iPhone 3gs was arguably the closest a handset has come to challenging RIM’s Blackberry as the favoured smartphone for business users. </li></ul><ul><li>Unfortunately, while it boasted a range of new entertainment features, the 3gs seemed to fall just short of the mark for business. </li></ul>
Lessons learned? <ul><li>On its website, Apple states that the iPhone 4 ‘is the result of everything they’ve learned so far’ . </li></ul><ul><li>We’ve tested the latest model to its limits to see whether Apple really has taken heed of past suggestions and created a phone that is as useful for businesspeople as it is for home users. </li></ul>
Full-size keyboard A common complaint of the past was the inability to hook the iPhone up to a standard keyboard. Though unlikely to trouble the casual user, having the option to type up substantial documents and e-mails on a full-size keyboard is an attractive feature for many businesspeople. The iPhone 4 has addressed this issue and can connect to Bluetooth keyboards with ease.
Multitasking One of the most talked-about additions of the latest iPhone has been its multitasking facility. With the rise of official and third party applications, the need to seamlessly switch between tasks is of paramount importance to many business users. While some have expressed their concern that the new multitasking ability may deplete battery life, this does not seem to be the case (see next slide!).
Bolder battery life A decent battery life is vital for any businessperson on the go, whether for accessing e-mails, surfing the web or taking urgent calls. The iPhone has never been renowned for its battery life, but it seems that Apple has decided to tackle this issue head on. The iPhone 4 can now survive up to 7 hours of talk time on 3G networks (equating to around a 40% gain on its predecessor), or 10 hours of Wi-Fi web surfing.
Subtle in size Maintaining a professional image is an integral part of business. Unfortunately, a professional look can be fairly difficult to achieve if you have to carry around a bulky phone in your pocket. Thankfully, despite its range of new features, the new iPhone is actually 24% thinner than the 3gs. This makes it incredibly easy to transport from one place to another.
Folder arrangement The iPhone 4 allows users to create and name their own folders, allowing them to neatly file away key applications. This feature further blurs the divide between the smartphone and the desktop computer by giving extra control over how files are organised. This won’t excite everyone, but those dependent on a large number of apps are likely to welcome this upgrade.
Spellcheck The new operating system comes with a spell check that works with a number of applications, including Mail and Notes. Given the size of the handset, it is not surprising if users make the occasional error or two when typing e-mails or word documents. However, the iPhone 4’s built-in spell check means you can correct mistakes before sending anything on.
The drawbacks While the iPhone 4 goes some way to bridging the gap between the smartphone and the computer, there are still some notable omissions. At the top of the list is the lack of a central file manager. Times have changed and users are now far more likely to exchange photos and videos with their peers. Being able to organise these file types in a particular way is a feature most users would hope to see in future releases. Additionally, there is no way to directly attach files to e-mails. Needless to say, this feature would be invaluable to any businessperson trying to get key documents across to colleagues.
The drawbacks (continued) And lastly, there is no Flash support, meaning that some of the web features you get at home won’t be available on your mobile. The value of Flash to mobile is a fiercely contested point, but it certainly wouldn’t have done Apple any harm to work it into the latest release.
iPhone 4 for business It’s not perfect, but the iPhone 4 has done enough to establish itself as an excellent choice for business. A file manager is still desperately needed to cater for the various ways the modern user will share information, but Apple has made so many good judgements elsewhere that this is unlikely to prove a sticking point. It is worth noting that if you already own a 3gs handset, you will still be able to get your hands on many of the iPhone 4 updates stated here. If you don’t own an earlier model and are considering your options, then Apple has put forward a convincing case. Boardrooms beware; the iPhone 4 is on its way!
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