Apple betrays the iPhone's business hopes

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by charliehustle, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. charliehustle macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2009
    Opinion: Apple betrays the iPhone's business hopes
    Posted on Sep 15, 2009 12:00 pm by Galen Gruman, InfoWorld

    Fixing a major but unacknowledged bug in the operating system, last week’s iPhone OS 3.1 update has rendered most iPhones and all iPod touches incompatible with Exchange 2007 servers that require on-device data be encrypted, a standard safeguard used by businesses.

    In other words, Apple has fundamentally betrayed its iPhone users and the businesses that have either explicitly or implicitly supported the device.

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    If you’re like me, you probably ran the iPhone OS 3.1 update late Friday along with all the other Mac OS X updates. And perhaps, like me, you found your device no longer syncing to your company’s Exchange 2007 Server. I, for one, assumed something had changed on the back end. After all, a dot-one update is a bug fix, so there shouldn’t have been anything major to watch out for. But I learned Monday it was the update itself that was to blame.

    My first reaction was, “Damn. Now I can’t check e-mail or schedules when not at my desk. I wonder how long it will take for Apple to fix the issue.” Our IT department is not about to relax its encryption requirement to deal with a change in Apple’s OS. Why should it?

    Then it sunk in. The iPhone has been falsely reporting to Exchange servers since July 2008 that it supports on-device encryption.

    The lie the iPhone has been telling
    That’s right. Thousands of users have been accessing e-mail, calendars, and contacts over Exchange connections through their iPhones or iPod touches, not knowing they were compromising their corporate security. During that entire time, Apple has extolled its support of Exchange and convinced many businesses that the iPhone was a corporate-class device they should embrace or, at least, tolerate.

    How many businesses will revisit that support now that they know Apple shipped and promoted a product as fit for business only to later find that the device had a major security flaw? Apple clearly knew of the flaw at some point; otherwise, it would not have fixed it in the iPhone OS 3.1 update. Worse, how many users or businesses will trust Apple, now that they know it not only hid a major flaw from their attention but also slipstreamed a fix that broke compatibility with most of its devices?

    Consider the implications on Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which now boasts the same Exchange support as the iPhone. As of the Mac OS X 10.6.1 update of last week, it still works with our encryption-requiring Exchange 2007 Server. But how does anyone know Snow Leopard won ‘t have a similar breakdown in the future, if not for encryption then for something else?

    I suspect that Apple has set back its enterprise cause several years, if not permanently.

    The fundamental damage that Apple has done to itself involves trust. IT may be glad that now unencrypted iPhones and iPod touches—meaning every model except the iPhone 3G S released earlier this year—aren’t violating their security policies. But IT won’t be happy about learning those devices were unsecurely accessing their Exchange servers or about dealing with all those users whose iPhones and iPod Touches suddenly have lost access to Exchange.

    No good options to fix the problem
    And IT won’t be happy to follow Apple’s official suggestions: Either replace the devices with 3G S models or change the security policies to allow at least iPhone users to access Exchange without requiring on-device encryption. Neither option is realistic, and both show an amazing naïveté, or perhaps arrogance, about Apple’s view of the business environment.

    The third option—downgrading the iPhone OS to 3.0—is unrealistic for many users. If you’re lucky and the last backup of your iPhone has the previous OS, go to iTunes and click Restore. Otherwise, you need to have a copy of a 3.0-based backup (Mac OS X users who have Time Machine running likely will), or you need to download the 3.0 version from BitTorrent or other questionable sites, then restore your iPhone or iPod Touch using that older OS. Note that you have to Option-click in Mac OS X or Shift-click in Windows the Restore button in iTunes to be able to choose that backed-up or downloaded 3.0 OS. After the restore is complete, you’ll likely have to reinstall some apps, update your music files, and so forth to reflect changes made since the last backup; if you have no backup, you’re essentially starting over. Despite what I read on various blogs, I was able to restore an unsanctioned iPhone OS 3.0 onto my iPod Touch using the new iTunes 9.

    I have my Exchange access back—but I had to become a hacker to do it. Few people will do that. And many organizations may decide to ban all iPhones and iPod Touches from Exchange rather than risk access by unencrypted devices that hack around their security policies by dowbngrading to the 3.0 OS or not upgrading to the 3.1 version.

    There’s a fourth possible option, which is the only one that would satisfy legitimate IT security concerns: Apple revs iPhone OS to include software encryption, so the pre-3G S devices can honestly tell Exchange 2007 they support on-device encryption. But Apple has avoided implementing such encryption since Day 1, except for the 3G S released in July. I’m betting there’s a reason the on-device encryption is available only on the faster-chip model. Plus, Apple has been very clear in saying it won’t support simultaneous processes in the iPhone OS, which any software encryption would likely need to be.

    Does Apple have a plan to reenable the pre-3G S models’ ability to work with Exchange when encryption is a requirement? I asked Apple that question yesterday, and a spokeswoman said she would let me know when she had an answer. So far, there is none.

    The sick feeling of betrayal
    I really like my iPod touch, but at this point, I won’t buy another one or an iPhone. Right now, I simply can’t count on Apple to do the right thing. If I did get a 3G S or some future encryption-enabled iPod Touch model, what other nasty surprise will I find a year on?

    While the apps are fun and being able to go to the Web when on the road is useful, the major benefit that I — and most business users — get is access to e-mail and calendars. If the devices touted for more than a year as great at doing that really can’t do it in the real-world business context, they’re not worth the several hundred dollars they cost or the limited space in my pockets. I can get a Palm Pre instead; after all, it still works with Exchange, and for my on-the-road music, I can bring along a cheaper iPod.

    I’ve been a champion of the iPhone as more than a fancy iPod for a couple years now, suggesting that businesses give it a serious look despite some of its more IT-desired omissions. Now, I feel embarrassed for having done so. I’ve tolerated Apple’s half-baked iPhone management tools, given that the company has been careful not to claim professional-level management support. But Apple’s made a lot of hay about its Exchange support. Yes, it technically supports Exchange, but not in the way that anyone would expect in the real world. Yet Apple let us all think it did. Then it revealed the truth in a damaging, surprising, inconsiderate way.

    That’s a double betrayal. And a sad, sick feeling.

    Apple has to move quickly to fix the immediate problem and start giving business users with the information they need and the respect they deserve.
  2. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Could this be tied at all to Apple's recent claim that "the iphone is not a business phone" ?
  3. sinsin07 macrumors 68040

    Mar 28, 2009
    Due diligence would have shown a tech department the flaws in iPhone security.
  4. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    He's talking rubbish. First he complains that Apple have broken Exchange compatibility, then he complains that before they did that there was a massive security hole? His argument makes no sense.

    Betraying your users by fixing a security hole? I've heard it all now. :rolleyes:
  5. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    Anyone who's gone past the first "o" in Google should know that the iPhone's security isn't on par with other mobile devices. Whether it is good enough depends on your corporate policy. For now we're using the browser to access our corporate mail until things get sorted out.
  6. SAIRUS macrumors 6502a

    Aug 21, 2008
    Look the guy is obviously upset, and its very understandable.

    What if you were told a product did something, find out it doesn't, they take the feature away for good reasons, and then ask you to upgrade your phone a year later?

    Not everyone can drop money at the drop of a hat. Its quite unfair till you're put in the guy's shoes.
  7. mavis macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Tokyo, Japan
    There it is.

    The guy has a good reason to be angry and if I were him, I would be upset too. I have a feeling the Apple apologists in this thread simply haven't been affected by this misrepresentation personally ... ;)
  8. macfanboy macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2007
    of course its apples fault that iphone os start requiring device encryption for exchange 07 profiles that require device encryption.

    ill explain,

    if YOUR company is requiring the encryption, YOUR PHONE will tell you. if you can't encrypt data on your phone, ask your IT guy NOT to require data encryption.

    apple is at no fault in your problem. this is not an 'issue' in the 3.1 software. it's simply apple's enhancements to completely follow exchange server requirements.

    if the iphone is your only mobile device (mobile meaning connects through activesync) and you don't give your exchange credentials away, turning off encryption requirements on your profile shouldnt be that big of a deal
  9. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    It sure is easy to complain about something when you just pretend to have read it.

    Maybe you'd understand his point better if you slowed down and read the whole thing instead of just complaining about what you THINK he's saying.
  10. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    And if data encryption is a requirement?

    I am holding out hope that we'll be able to have iPhones instead of BBs, but this is just more evidence that is likely a day that will never come.
  11. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Buy a 3GS.
  12. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Oops. Yeah, as I went back to read it again I caught that comment. I guess it's more the fact that stories like this percolate around the IT departments here and poison the waters against iPhones.

    I suppose first we'll have to leave Lotus Notes, which will likely never happen.
  13. damesJ macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2008
    No offense to this guy but he's coming across as a big baby. It's understandable to be pissed at the situation but to say IT department will never consider an iPhone because of this? Way to be a drama queen. Do you believe that the iPhone is the only product that had a security issue? Again, I understand the anger but let's be realistic about it.
  14. Surrix macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2009
    Clearly you don't understand IT departments.

    My IT department stopped taking the iPhone seriously when Apple broke calendar invite compatibility with Exchange 2003 with 3.0, and it took them all the way until 3.1 to fix it. No one else is allowed to get an iPhone anymore.
  15. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    If there are hundreds of people in his company using iPhones for business use your advice to his company is really this:

    Buy hundreds of 3GS's.

    You first.
  16. kicko macrumors 65816

    Aug 26, 2008
    Do you suppose this sets up 2 different catigories of iphones for the future?


    Sort of like OS's with multiple versions
  17. Kadman macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2007
    Apple is used to dealing with individuals, people with no power on their own and rarely pull together to exert any meaningful group voice. This simply won't work in the corporate world where business purchases are always scrutinized at a greater level in terms of value for the investment made. Apple's approach of "just upgrade" on anything like a yearly frequency won't fly with the business customers. If they have any hope of making inroads against RIM (Blackberry) in this segment, things like this will stop them before they even get out of the gate.

    Fanboys can try to defend Apple on this, but it will only prove how far out of touch with reality they really are.
  18. electroshock macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Sorta like how they're doing the per-country iPhone carrier negotiations? :p
  19. hchavarria macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A400 Safari/528.16)

    I agree that the iPhone can't be taken as a serious business phone not only because of security reasons but because of the lack of full integration between core apps and the lack of some core apps. Also the push notifications as a method to circumvent the need to have background processing for apps was a joke.
  20. charliehustle thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2009
    Apple claims iPhone not intended for business use
    By Justin Mann,
    Published: September 22, 2009, 5:23 PM EST

    If you've spent any length of time studying smartphones, be it reading reviews, making comparisons, or browsing forums, you've likely heard one of the iPhone's most common criticisms: It doesn't feel like a work-worthy handset.

    When pitted against the rival BlackBerry and even Windows Mobile, many people say the iPhone is not fit for someone who primarily uses a PDA for work-related activities -- and they may be more right than they know. It seems that Apple themselves have come out to state that the iPhone was not designed for business use.

    While the statement may not come as a surprise to an iPhone (or any PDA) owner, Apple seems to be asserting something beyond just a friendly disclaimer. Their strong words suggest they don't even want business users as customers. This seems contrary to the App store, which has an entire catalog of software aimed at business users.

    Despite that, buried within the terms and conditions of Apple's site (at least the UK flavor) is a statement saying the iPhone is only intended for personal, non-commercial use. Further, there's at least one report of someone being advised that the iPhone should be sold only to end-users for personal use.

    That's not saying the iPhone can't be used in a work environment -- clearly it's an extremely flexible tool with plenty of business users -- but this isn't the first time Apple has made such a claim. What stance, exactly, is Apple taking? Are there legal issues Apple is afraid of, or is there something more?
  21. xraydoc macrumors 604


    Oct 9, 2005
    This is why I have a BlackBerry Tour for work and an iPhone to play with.

    Our IT department wont support the iPhone, so I've had to move most everything to the BlackBerry. My iPhone has been reduced basically to an iPod touch with 3G connectivity - I virtually never use it for phone calls or SMS any more. Most days I leave my beloved iPhone at home and function with the BlackBerry Tour alone.

    While the BB is a good phone, it's certainly no iPhone.
  22. dccorona macrumors 68020


    Jun 12, 2008
    thats strange, considering that my dad, who is COO of a fortune 500 company, has an iPhone and loves it
  23. charliehustle thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2009
    he probably doesn't use exchange obviously...
    thats the main issue with iphone..
  24. intrepid00 macrumors 6502

    Sep 28, 2008
    Anyone that has talked to Apple store employees back when the 2g first supposly got business support knows how out of touch Apple is with Enterprise. If the iPhone had never purchased the push tech form MS it proably would have never even made it into the business world or maybe even wide support due to lack of background support.

    I however disagree. Push is actually a great alternative to a lot of things you need background for. Like IM clients.

    Also, I agree with the author. The management tools totally suck ass. The first 2 verisons didn't usually generate valid profiles and you had to go in and correct the XML by hand.

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