Apple today unveiled tools for outside developers to make software programs for its iPhone, a move intended to widen the appeal of the multifunction device. Previewing the iPhone 2.0 software, scheduled for release this June, Apple announced the beta release of the software, offering new enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide 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.
The iPhone SDK provides developers with tools to create applications for the iPhone and the iPod touch including programming interfaces for Core OS, Core Services, Media and Cocoa Touch technologies. The iPhone SDK will allow developers to create applications that leverage Multi-Touch user interface, animation technology, large storage, built-in three-axis accelerometer and geographical location technology to deliver mobile applications.
Apple has licensed Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and is building it right into the iPhone, so that it will connect out-of-the-box to Microsoft Exchange Servers 2003 and 2007 for secure over-the-air push email, contacts, calendars and global address lists. Built-in Exchange ActiveSync support also enables security features such as remote wipe, password policies and auto-discovery. The iPhone 2.0 software supports Cisco IPsec VPN for IP-based encryption available for transmission of sensitive corporate data, as well as the ability to authenticate using digital certificates or password-based, multi-factor authentication. The addition of WPA2 Enterprise with 802.1x authentication enables enterprise customers to deploy the iPhone and iPod touch with the latest standards for protection of Wi-Fi networks.
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 users has to do is authenticate with a user ID or password, download the configuration and tap install. Once installed, users will have access to all their corporate IT services.
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.