Apple products used to be labeled with a "for creative types" banner, but that changed when the iMac, then iPod, and finally iPhone came along. Now Apple is everywhere...except in enterprise IT, at least not in a big way. But OS X Snow Leopard may change all that, according to some intriguing thinking.
Sam Oliver at AppleInsider has been digging in the notes for the upcoming Apple World Wide Developers Conference, in which the new iPhone is the hottest expectation. But he also found a few interesting hints about features of Snow Leopard Server. He learned about a session at WWDC that will promote the upcoming OS ,and the "remote access" capabilities of the software. Specifically, here's what he read: "The Mobile Access Server provides a path through a corporate firewall for IMAP, SMTP, HTTP, and CalDAV without using VPN. Learn about the features of, and deployment tips for, this powerful new service in Snow Leopard Server."
It looks like Apple wants to present a powerful new way of connecting mobile devices to remote access corporate services without needing more equipment or expensive Microsoft "Client Access Licenses." Its new Mobile Access Server could maintain a secure connection with a remote device—and you'd be right to assume that was an iPhone—with highly secure SSL protection, and do so continuously, without requiring repeated user logins.
In other words, Apple wants to make it easy and cheap to use iPhones as a business cellphone with secure email and Web services—beating both RIM and Microsoft at their own game. The proposition is likely to be incredibly tempting to many when you examine the typical costs associated with building a Microsoft-based company server solution, and one made by Apple.
Many companies can't ignore an 87% cost saving, not in the current economy.
With news that Microsoft is suffering a bit financially at the moment, and the enterprise market will be getting increased competition thanks to the Oracle-Sun tie-up, it makes perfect sense that Apple would try to make a bigger splash in the business IT world. Given that the runaway success of the iPhone has been mainly limited to private users, enabling the desirable device to be used easily as a business phone would be an obvious way to expand sales of the iPhone even further.