With the release of iOS 4, Apple for the first time enabled third party device management applications to access and manipulate data stored on the iPhone 4. Writing for Infoworld, Galen Gruman explains why iOS 4’s mobile management API’s were so important.
This has to be one of the least sexy developments in mobile technology in a year that brought us the iPhone 4’s retina display and the slick Windows Phone 7 user interface. But nothing was as pivotal to mobile this year as iOS 4’s new APIs. They forever changed the game.
It used to be — in the dark days of 2009 and before — that you had to use a BlackBerry for work, and any other device (save the occasional Windows Mobile unit) were for personal use. Only BlackBerrys could give businesses assurance that their data and networks were safe. If you wanted an iPhone for work, too bad — it couldn’t be secured or managed. With iOS 4, it could, and within months of its release, the tide turned to allow iPhones and iPads into businesses of all sorts. Even the major banks — all of which could not accept anything but a BlackBerry for good reason — were able to open up to iPhones and iPads.
Gruman is spot on. Like he says, this was hardly a sexy development, but you may have noticed that a growing number of corporations in 2010 launched pilot programs to test out the iPhone 4 as an officially supported work device. From Bank of America to Citigroup, the iPhone continues to make inroads into niche markets long controlled by RIM. Indeed, the Canadian handset maker has good reason to fear that the Blackberry’s days as the only smartphone of choice in corporate America are numbered.