Making the iPhone a killer business device

The device has potential, but Apple needs to meet corporate needs

8. Add copy and paste functionality

One of the iPhone's big limitations from the start has been the lack of support for copying and pasting data, either within an application or between applications.

Copy and paste has become such an ingrained part of computing that it's shocking to imagine any platform without it. Since it's been available on Windows Mobile and other platforms for years -- and in the third-party Magic Pad iPhone application -- the capability clearly exists.

Apple claims to have heard the cries about copy and paste but says it isn't a priority. Sure, there are more important issues that should be addressed first, but if Apple ever offers document-editing capabilities on the iPhone, copy and paste needs to be implemented alongside them.

And even now the ability to copy and paste from e-mails, Web pages, calendar items and read-only documents would be a boon. If the iPhone is ever to become the business kingpin it has the potential to be, this feature is a must.

9. Implement enterprise licensing for the App Store

I doubt anyone could call the App Store anything but a rousing a success. With thousands of applications easy to access (if not always easy to find) and download, the App Store offers users a single place to get new apps and provides a revenue stream for Apple and developers. Numerous applications in the App Store have serious business potential.

But the entire plan for the App Store seems relentlessly consumer-centric. Access is tied to an Apple ID for billing and is required even for free applications. Like other iTunes purchases, only five computers can be authorized for a single Apple ID.

While this works for individuals, families and very small businesses, it doesn't scale well for businesses looking to roll out more than a handful of iPhones. There are only two main options: centrally activate and sync all iPhones to a handful of computers using the same set of Apple IDs, or require users to purchase and download applications on their own with individual Apple IDs -- though these could be set up to bill to a company account. Neither option is particularly attractive.

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Ryan Faas

Ryan Faas

Computerworld
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