Inspecting gadgets

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from the new version of the iPhone to its most recent prospective rival.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  July 19, 2008

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from the new version of the iPhone to its most recent prospective rival.

Apple iPhone 3G

At long last, the Apple iPhone has reached the hallowed pages of Inspecting Gadgets, with a new 3G version. It replaces the first generation model which mysteriously managed to find its way into the hands of many regional executives.

Tech geeks idolised the first iPhone's understated curves and otherworldly touch-interface, wasting no opportunity to stroke it - sorry, check for messages - in lifts and other public venues.

Others from countries with more advanced mobile markets denounced Jobs' steel-backed emperor for its high price, mediocre feature set, and inability to use third-party applications for a supposed ‘smart-phone.'

It's the latter error that Jobs has tried hardest to correct with 'iPhone 2.0'. The device is now being sold as part of a complete software platform for enterprises, with support for MS Exchange and Cisco VPN access. The former is particularly interesting, as it means that enterprises can implement the full suite of Exchange capabilities, including push e-mail, calendar syncing and the ability to remotely wipe the iPhone in case of theft.

While these capabilities only bring the iPhone into line with other smartphones, the real gem of version 2.0 is the release of the SDK, allowing companies to build their own applications and deploy them through iTunes. Apple has also (finally) allowed support for external third party applications through the newly-launched App Store, although in typical fashion, the only apps you can buy are ones that have been ‘approved' by his Jobsness.

Crucially, the ‘iPhone 2.0' platform is backwards compatible with the previous generation, so Middle East users don't necessarily have to shell out for the new version, although they'll miss out on the new hardware GPS for Google Maps.

But while Jobs' baby may finally be attractive to enterprises, it's clear that many of them have written it off as a consumer gadget - so he still has an uphill struggle ahead of him.

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