Verizon iPhone: Not for Serious Business Professionals [UPDATE]

Last Updated Jan 11, 2011 2:23 PM EST


UPDATE: Gizmodo confirms that the Verizon iPhone is available for preorder:
  • It will be available on February 10
  • Starting at $200 for the 16 GB version and 2 year minimum contract
  • It will not be on the Verizon 4G network
  • A hotspot application, which turns the iPhone into a Wi-Fi location, will be available
Today Verizon (VZ) announced that it will carry the Apple (APPL) iPhone along with AT&T (T). People have been waiting for years, but it doesn't, or shouldn't, matter to the average professional. When it comes to security and functionality, the iPhone lags behind the RIM (RIMM) Blackberry, Google (GOOG) Android, and Palm lines. Those phones may not be as sexy as the iPhone, but they are built with the enterprise customer in mind -- and many have the security to go along with that mentality.

Skeptical? Consider this:

iPhone has no tethering capabilities, no ability to use Flash

One major problem with the iPhone is that it only offers one experience, albeit a well-thought-out one. Would you like the iPhone design, but with a tactile keyboard? It doesn't exist. Neither does the iPhone have tethering capability that allows you to use it to get a connected computer online, nor the ability to use Flash to read still a large percentage of the world-wide web.

At the end of the day, Apple only allows users to choose between memory sizes. Compare this to the literally dozens of phones available from any competitor, including upstart Google (GOOG), which already has more than 50 Android phones out. Compared to this, Steve Jobs and company have created a beautiful, well-kept jail.

iPhone still has privacy and security weaknesses

Apple often chides Google's open source platform, claiming that the iPhone has a secure environment because it vets each of the apps and narrowly defines what the user can control -- but that's not true.

As my BNET colleague Erik Sherman noted recently, here is a small list of the iPhone privacy and security issues that came up in 2010:

  • An Apple iOS loophole made it easy for remote, malicious takeovers
  • A Russian software program allows access to users' password-protected data backups
  • The iPhone keeps a text log of everything typed on the virtual keyboard, including passwords and private account information
Equally disturbing, Apple has publicly dissed the web software Flash for HTML 5, a new protocol that does aggressive information gathering of the user without giving anyone a chance to op out. Websites traditionally use a tracking notice, called a cookie, to know when a user has returned to the site so it can remember the user preferences. Users are usually asked whether they will allow cookies and, most importantly, cookies are routinely deleted after a certain time.

Experts say the Apple-supported HTML 5 has so-called "supercookies" which, as BNET's Jim Edwards describes:

Worse, the files can't be deleted. The new supercookies store themselves in several different places on your machine, so even if you delete some of them they persist, or "respawn," resurrecting themselves from other parts of your machine.


No big impact in the business world

Yes, millions of fanboys (and girls) will snap up the Verizon iPhone immediately, but it is doubtful that small business and corporate customers will switch over. Google provides more phone options, Palm and Blackberry know the business audience, and Microsoft, though new with Windows Phone 7, has a long reputation with corporations and promises compatibility with its PC products.

Between the lack of phone choices and the security issues, the Verizon iPhone is more a small victory for Apple than a death blow to everyone else.

Photo courtesy of cocoate.com // CC 2.0

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