With the recent upgrade of the Apple iPhone, the mobile device has become ubiquitous among consumers. Up until now, Blackberry has been the dominant business phone of choice, but now that the 3G model offers full Exchange mail support, as well as improved features such as visual voice mail and full web browsing capability, we consider the benefits and costs of utilizing the iPhone for your small business.
Hardware and Connectivity
A strong upside to the iPhone 3G is its superior computing power and technical specifications. The device itself features a high-resolution 3.5 inch screen and a sleek, compact design that make it ideal for business travel and media presentation. Given this level of power, it's important to consider the effects of media playback upon battery life: while the phone can remained powered for over 24 hours, utilizing full 3G wifi web browsing and email capability can reduce effective battery time to roughly 5 hours, requiring intra-day charges that might be difficult for serious road warriors. Keep in mind that you cannot swap out replacement batteries, and so it is necessary to re-charge to power up again. On the upside, you can re-charge your phone using a docking station, AC adapter or laptop connection. Importantly, since the software is build on the OSX operating system, it is stable and reliable; additionally, you can safely backup important data to your laptop, whether you have a PC or a Mac, with relative ease.
Data and Software
The 3G connection provides the speed necessary for quick emails and web browsing, especially when connected to a Wifi hotspot. With the addition of full GPS capabilities, you can ensure your directions get you to your next meeting on time. The device is compatible with a broad array of software so you can sync with your email and calendar, whether you use Exchange, iCal or another product, with relative ease. Additional native productivity applications allow you to easily view Office documents, including PowerPoints, clearly on your phone and 3rd-party applications from a number of companies including SalesForce take mobile business computing to the next level.