Questions remain about battery life, security and email options but it would seem Apple’s 3G iPhone is attracting increasing interest from the business world.

HSBC is considering equipping its employees with some 200,000 iPhones, according to HSBC’s Australia and New Zealand chief information officer Brenton Hush.
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry is currently the firm’s standard issue handset.

In the US, the handset commands 46 per cent of the US smartphone, according to a recent report by Synergy Research Group.

Hush told that the world’s largest banking group was reviewing iPhones from an HSBC Group perspective.

If such reports are accurate, then RIM’s BlackBerry could see its dominant position as the enterprise smartphone leader weakened.

A report by IT researchers Gartner further weakens the perception that the iPhone is completely unsuited to the demands of the corporate world.

While it stresses there’s still room for improvement on everything from application support to security to calendar access, the study says Apple’s latest handset is now viewed as a legitimate enterprise mobile device.

Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner, said: “It’s acceptable for enterprise use if the security it provides is the same as other handsets in play.

The iPhone features a complex password system for Microsoft Exchange users and a “wipe” feature that clears the phone’s contents when a password is violated. Neither security aspect was provided on the initial firmware, according to Gartner.

Apple’s second handset, which debuted in July, also supports a small set of enterprise applications such as voice mail, personal information manager, Web browsing and e-mail.

Still, some big enterprise-level functionality gaps remain when compared with BlackBerry, including shorter battery life, the ability to edit mail attachments and issues over calendar functionality.

Gartner also said the iPhone’s bandwidth is lacking when it comes to using e-mail over a network, and there is still no cut and paste functionality.

However, with Best Buy now poised to start selling the iPhone in the US there is no doubt that Apple’s priority remains the consumer market.

The agreement is expected to help make already strong estimates for Apple’s device sales seem all too modest.

It will also help ensure that Apple’s market value remains greater than Google, which it has just surpassed.
The current market capitalisation of Apple is US$159.37 billion, just a little higher than Google’s market cap of US$157.56 billion.

Subscribe to our Newsletter