the iPhone Ready for Prime Time with Lawyers?
~by Troy Henley, CBA Director of Information Technology
iPhone arrived on the scene with great fanfare and high expectations.
It was Steve Job’s latest ground-breaking product destined
to put Apple Computer in the record books again. The phone pioneered
many new features in a surprisingly thin and lightweight package.
With its nearly button-free surface and touch-driven interface,
it was very innovative but it lacked the core feature that would
turn it into a powerful tool for lawyers. The iPhone does not have
the ability to synchronize with Outlook’s data the way that
the Blackberry and the Treo do, a feature lawyers have grown to
love and many cannot live without. Granted, the iPhone can be configured
to synchronize with an email account but that’s all: no contacts
synchronization, no calendar synchronization and no task synchronization
with Outlook over-the-air. Blackberry and Treo own the market now,
that’s all about to change.
to pressure from developers and consumer backlash, Apple moved away
from its traditional stance of trying to control 3rd party software
development and they released a software developer’s toolkit
in March. They also promised full Exchange integration that would
synchronize your Outlook contacts, calendar and email with the iPhone.
To help tout the new direction that the iPhone is headed, Apple
pre-released the developer’s toolkit to a couple dozen firms
that quickly retooled their best applications to run on the iPhone.
An impressive array of programs were demonstrated: from sales force
management software to games that utilized the iPhone’s built-in
Gforce meters (think of the Nintendo Wii paddles). It showed the
power of both the development kit and the iPhone as a computing
platform…a dazzling array of applications were produced in
only a two week period. That’s just a glimpse of what we’ll
see in the months ahead. So until then, Treo and Blackberry own
the market….but not for long. Imagine accessing all your office
Outlook data on the iPhone and utilizing a synchronized version
of your case management software to check case facts, documents
or SOL dates on the road. It’s not that far away. Some of
the existing iPhone features include: visual voicemail, Bluetooth
support, true web surfing with a real web browser and zoom in\out
capability. It also supports high speed WiFi internet connectivity
so you can jump onto local internet access points just like a laptop
and without incurring any expensive data plans traditionally required
to surf the web or check email on a cell phone.
iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally
five years ahead of any other mobile phone," said Steve Jobs,
Apple's CEO. "We are all born with the ultimate pointing device,
our fingers, and the iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary
user interface since the mouse."
Note: Even though the iPhone currently supports email, iPhone
users have been largely locked out of corporate mail systems, the
built-in email client of the iPhone supports Microsoft Exchange
via direct IMAP/SMTP connections - a feature often blocked by corporate
firewalls due to security concerns.