Apple in April listed many iOS 4 enterprise improvements, and several analysts ranked wireless distribution of in-house applications at the very top. That means IT shops can host and distribute these apps to employees via Wi-Fi and 3G networks without the need to connect to a PC and route through iTunes.

Improved e-mail also got high praise from analysts, noting that iOS 4 will support Exchange Server 2010 and multiple Exchange ActiveSync accounts with a unified in-box. Gartner noted that the e-mail upgrade, while an improvement, only raises Apple's device to where its competitors have been for a while.

Gartner also wants Apple to use cloud services to bring together internal and external collaboration functions into a single application, which can only be accomplished on the iPhone through third-party applications.

While Apple's device lacks FIPS-certified encryption, it has won praise for application and e-mail data protection, with the device passcode used as an encryption key. (Gartner, however, said users resort to creating short passcodes that can be broken easily.) Apple has said its data protection APIs can be used for custom-built apps to protect business information if a device is hacked or stolen.

Apple is also providing SSL VPN support in iOS 4 with upcoming apps from Juniper Networks and Cisco . It's a security improvement that analysts have said Apple needed to do.

In general, however, Gartner continued to be critical of Apple in its May 20 note, especially regarding data protection. With iOS 4, "security of the product should rise ... but not sufficient for those who benchmark products such as the BlackBerry as the gold standard for native device security."

Until Gartner does more research with real iPhone 4 devices, that is Gartner's last word.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld . Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .