iPhone 2.0Now that Apple has finally announced the next-generation iPhone (known as iPhone 3G0, it's time for managed service providers to formulate a support strategy for the Apple device.

I'm not suggesting that the iPhone 3G will bury RIM BlackBerry or Windows-based smart phones. And don't forget: Dozens of Google Android devices are just around the corner as well. But the iPhone 3G is for real, and MSPs can't afford to ignore it.


Yes, the iPhone still has plenty of holes. Enterprise application providers have been slow to embrace the iPhone. And as a daily user of the original iPhone, I must admit: it's mainly a consumer play.

But that's changing. The iPhone 3G supports Microsoft Exchange. And the device also connects to Apple's new online App Store, which will allow users to purchase and download additional applications for the device.

Stocking Up

I'm willing to bet that the App Store within the next 12 to 18 months will offer applications -- or applets -- from IBM-Lotus, Oracle, Salesforce.com and Cisco Systems Inc. Yes, even Cisco -- which Apple is starting to support more and more.

Over the past 18 months or so, Cisco has been keeping close tabs on the iPhone -- and its potential implications for unified communications. During the Cisco 's April 2008 Partner Summit in Hawaii, the company demonstrated some unified applications running on the original iPhone, noted BlueWater Communications CEO Bob Cagnazzi, in this podcast.

Another key point: The iPhone 3G starts at $199, which means even frugal small business owners may give the device a look. Apple says the iPhone 3G will ship July 11.

MSPs should sort out support strategies for the device in the meantime.