The World-Wide iPhone Exchange

Sophos has just returned from the Apple WorldWide Developer Conference, an annual meet-up of Mac (and this year, iPhone) developers eager to discover and discuss information about what’s new in writing software for their favourite platform. If you missed the keynote delivered by Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller then it’s at apple.com, although I’d recommend the 60-second keynote at YouTube for those readers who plan to get some work done.

Attention in the keynote was directed firmly at the iPhone, which made things hard for those of us playing along with our keynote bingo cards from Ars Technica. In fact, I counted a total of 11 seconds of Mac OS X-related talk. Does that mean that I should be spending, as Apple did, 584x more time on the iPhone than on the Mac? I don’t think so. Looking at the pre-release information for Snow Leopard, it would appear that there are goodies for enterprise and scientific users – particularly Exchange support in Mail, iCal and Address Book – so the Mac in the grey flannel suit will be knocking on the door of a number of businesses. And he’ll have an iPhone in his pocket. For as long as I’ve been involved in the Mac world there have been people asking for (nay, demanding) Exchange support, so for those of us using Macs inside our enterprise, things are about to get a whole lot smoother.

I got the chance to talk iPhone security with some of the Apple guys at the conference. It seems like Apple have thought this through well and have closed down a number of routes through which a device like this might be maliciously used, although there are still some areas we’re concerned about and it will be interesting to see what comes to pass when enterprises really start using the phones in earnest. Obviously the conference content was covered by non-disclosure[*], but it certainly seems that businesses will want to carefully consider what they let users store on their devices.

It was great to meet so many of our Mac-using customers and fellow Cocoa developers last week. See you next year at WWDC ’09!

[*] Of course, accompanying journos to the bathroom to “avoid accidental leaks” could be a whole post in itself.