Sunday, September 14, 2008

iPhone users: Are you more playful than serious?

If we’re having a face to face conversation, you and me, I would love to challenge you into a game of Truth or Dare. If you choose Truth; are you willing to be honest and tell me if you’re using your iPhone more for playing/fun than for work? And if you choose Dare; are you willing to ditch your iPhone and go back use your previous mobile phone (other than iPhone)?

I’m wondering what will you choose… ;-D But I guess it’s easier to admit that iPhone is indeed more suitable for play/fun rather than for serious work. Wait, maybe if I put it this way is more crystal clear; you buy the iPhone because it’s cool and fun, rather than what it can do to help with your workloads.

Is it? I can’t help but to say the same if I ever buy an iPhone, because I’m sure it won’t be able to replace what my Treo can do for me daily. Aside from there’s no physical QWERTY keyboard on iPhone like in Treo, there hasn’t been much of viewing and editing supports for Microsoft’s Office documents. The document formats that are most used in business world, whether you like it or not…

iPhone users still need to wait a little bit longer until
Quickoffice ready to launch their three apps for reading and editing spreadsheets, Microsoft Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations. Each of them will be called Quicksheet, Quickword, and Quickpoint, those apps are planned to be tagged with $10 price apiece.

And of course, the worst part is there hasn’t been a solution for cut & paste support in iPhone at all even with the 2.1 software update released yesterday.
But the fact is, business applications aren’t growing that much of proportion compared to useless apps that are sold in App Store these days. So far, there are only around 60-65 more or less business apps in App Store. It’s a very small percentage, if you compare it with more than 2,000 apps available other than for business/work.

The numbers usually don’t lie, that’s the nicest thing about numbers. So it comes down to a simple basic question: what has been holding up business apps to flood App Store? First thing came up in my mind is maybe it’s hard to create such apps for iPhone platform? You know, with all those strings attached at iPhone SDK (Software Development Kit) by Apple. The rules and NDA agreements might be what have hold up the business apps progress, but not with the writing process of the apps itselves.

According to Lenley Hensarling, general vice president of application development at Oracle says developing an iPhone app was easy as pie. "The cool thing is that you're actually developing in Cocoa and the Mac OS environment, so in terms of the development environment, it's very mature and complete."

In rhymes with Hensarling, Chuck Dietrich, VP of Salesforce Mobile also agrees that building an iPhone app is a smooth process. "Thanks to the iPhone's robust development environment, we were able to develop, test and deliver Salesforce Mobile for the iPhone, all in less than three months. In fact, the process was so painless, the company plans to develop additional apps in the coming months."

If that’s so, then why the business apps growth is still small? Perhaps the reason is like what Nick Halsey, vice president of marketing at business intelligence (BI) vendor Jaspersoft has said: "Our business users are using Safari to deliver JasperReports to them on their iPhone. While the effort to write the 100 lines of Java code to build an iPhone app is minimal, it's just not needed."

Is this true? There haven’t been any great demands yet from business users for work & productivity apps in iPhone? If that is the case, then Apple should retrace its steps to pierce the mobile business market with iPhone. After all, there’s that embedded security concerns in iPhone that Apple needs to take care of first before it can beat RIM’s BlackBerry as the king of business mobile phone.

If your argument to counter back of what I’ve just mentioned, that iPhone is great for accessing email accounts through its Safari web browser; then you might be surprised to know a good fact of truth from
JMP Securities. The JMP Securities has found out that at 11 AT&T stores it visited, the stores’ employees were twice as likely to initially recommend a BlackBerry Curve or Pearl over the iPhone when asked to suggest a "phone to access the Internet and check email."

When asked specifically about email, employees would consistently suggest a BlackBerry first. When browsing the web was mentioned, employees would always recommend the iPhone first.
What do you think? Can browsing the web considered as serious work, or just plain playful fun? Your call…

It would be nice for iPhone, Apple in particularly, if it will become more multi-purpose device rather than just a cool status symbol for exclusive people only. Like what’s portrayed in the funny cartoon strip below, click to enlarge it. ~LOL~
Sources are from:
IPhone Enterprise Apps: What's the Holdup? (PCW Business Center)
  • The iPhone Apps for Business Watch (Business Technology)
  • iPhone apps 97% play, 3% work (Valleywag)
  • Quickoffice demos iPhone apps at CTIA (Webware)
  • AT&T stores recommending RIM over the iPhone (AppleInsider)
  • [blogged with my Treo 750v]

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