The iPhone 2.0 beta release, announced yesterday by Apple in California, includes an iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) and support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.
This makes the iPhone a genuine option for business users looking for secure, over-the-air push email, contacts and calendars as well as remote wipe, and the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks.
In addition to these new iPhone network and security features, the beta iPhone 2.0 software provides several new Mail features such as the ability to view PowerPoint attachments, in addition to Word and Excel, as well as the ability to mass delete and move email messages.
The iPhone 2.0 software provides a configuration utility that allows IT administrators to easily and quickly set up many iPhones, including password policies, VPN setting, installing certificates, email server settings and more. Once the configuration is defined it can be easily and securely delivered via web link or email to the user. To install, all the user has to do is authenticate with a user ID or password, download the configuration and tap install. Once installed, the user will have access to all their corporate IT services.The iPhone 2.0 software release will contain the App Store, a new application that lets users browse, search, purchase and wirelessly download third party applications directly onto their iPhone or iPod touch. Users can download free applications at no charge to either the user or developer, or purchase priced applications with just one click. Enterprise customers will be able to create a secure, private page on the App Store accessible only by their employees. Apple will cover all credit card, web hosting, infrastructure and DRM costs associated with offering applications on the App Store. Third party iPhone and iPod touch applications must be approved by Apple and will be available exclusively through the App Store.Pricing & AvailabilityApple plans to release the final iPhone 2.0 software, including the iPhone SDK and new enterprise features, as a free software update for all iPhone customers by the end of June. Third party applications created for the iPhone will also run on the iPod touch, and iPod touch users will be required to purchase a software update to run these applications.