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IPhone 4, IOS 4 Offer Deeper Enterprise Support

While other analysts have praised improvements in iOS 4, one deficiency noted by Forrester Research analyst Ted Schadler and Jack Gold of J.Gold Associates is that IT shops are unable to automatically push policy and software updates to iPhone users, meaning users would have to click a button to receive an update, leaving the IT shop to trust users to do so. Gold has called that deficiency a "barrier to iOS adoption" for banks and regulated companies.

The new iOS 4 software will ship on iPhone 4 units available June 24 but can also be added for free to the iPhone 3GS and 3G on June 21, Jobs said, expanding potential enterprise benefits to more users with older iPhones. The 3G phones will not be able to use the iOS 4's multitasking functionality because of hardware constraints, Jobs added.

Multitasking is a big enterprise plus, according to Gartner. Apple told Gartner analysts that multitasking will enable background processing functions such as playing audio while surfing the Web or playing a game. But background processing also means users can get a voice-over-IP call and have a conversation while using another application. IOS 4 also provides a battery-efficient way to monitor locations when users move between cell towers that Apple has called a "great way for social networking apps to keep track of users and their friends' locations."

Other background functions that could matter to enterprises include push notifications (to receive alerts from remote servers even when an app isn't running); local notifications (an app can now alert users of scheduled events and alarms in the background without any servers); task finishing (if an app is in midtask when the user leaves it, it can now keep running to finish the task); and fast app switching (a developer can build in functions to allow users to leave an app and come right back to where they left off, without a need to reload the app).

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