It is silly that analysts and journalists have spent so much time wondering if Apple wants to seriously pursue the enterprise market with the iPhone. Of course it does. The only real issue was the priority that it attached to this market.
Clearly, business users are becoming an ever-more important group to Apple. This may have been the plan all along, or they may be looking at the expansion as a hedge against the increasingly sophisticated competition it is encountering in the consumer market from Palm, Microsoft, Android and the rest of the gang.
The inexorable move to the enterprise is the subtext of Sam Diaz' post at ZDNet. His point is that the iPhone 3G S offers native support for Exchange and encryption. Both of these are features that are extremely valuable to IT and security departments. Those features also were lauded in this Cult of the Mac commentary, while MacNewsWorld takes a broader -- but no less enthusiastic -- view of what the Apple device offers to business users.
InformationWeek also takes a look at the iPhone and the enterprise and reaches the same conclusion, though its reasoning is a bit less persuasive. Marin Perez says that a push system automatically informs the user when something happens on an app that is not running. The problem is that other smartphone OSes can actually run multiple applications. The iPhone can't because it would kill battery life. The approach Perez describes is better than nothing, but seems to fall short of full background processing. The qualitative difference between the way Apple and other companies approach this issue, or the lack of a meaningful difference, should have been addressed.
Likewise, Perez' conclusion that these and other changes "puts Apple's mobile operating system on par with its rivals like Windows Mobile, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, and WebOS" in terms of its enterprise use, whether ultimately proven to be true or not, seems a bit too categorical at this point.
The bottom line clearly is that Apple is going after the enterprise, just as Research in Motion has spent a lot of time courting consumers during the past couple of years. Getting the full focus of one of the savviest and most creative companies in the world is nothing but good news for companies that will use its gear. It also is good news for those that won't, because having to worry about Apple will raise everybody's game.