Municipal applications coming to Apple’s iPhone

The iPhone isn’t a business device. The iPhone isn’t for government applications. Hogwash. Apple has finally announced a software development kit for the iPhone. The move paves the way for the iPhone to increasingly support mobile business and government applications. And big mesh providers such as Cisco Systems will surely jump on the iPhone bandwagon. Here’s why.

Esme Vos, this site’s founder, has mentioned in a Wall Street Journal interview that she expects consumer iPhone use to stir demand for public broadband access. I agree. And I also expect the iPhone to become a hit with business and government employees.

Apple’s iPhone strategy remains very smart. First, focus on the consumer market. Let those early adopters bring the iPhone into work — stirring iPhone demand within the executive ranks. Next, introduce a software development kit (SDK) to more closely link the iPhone to corporate and government applications. The SDK will debut this February, according to Apple’s blog. Smart. Very smart.

Next up, it’s safe to expect Cisco Systems and other networking companies to promote unified applications (IP, voice, video and email in one place) on the iPhone. Skeptical? Don’t be. Apple and Cisco had been kicking around a potential iPhone-unified communications relationship over the summer. But the talks broke down.

Cisco remained interested in a relationship. But Apple had something broader in mind — the SDK for all application writers. Rather than betting the house on Cisco-specific applications, Apple’s SDK gives everyone a seat at the iPhone table.

Business-oriented iPhone applications will surely follow. Municipal CIOs, in turn, can study the iPhone to determine if the device is an attractive option for running consumer or government applications.

I’m not suggesting that the iPhone will suddenly become a big-time government or corporate device. But the SDK at least gives municipalities and their IT consultants the tools they need to test new applications on Apple’s device.


  1. I agree with Esme Vos’s earlier insight that it is going to take devises like iPhone to stir up demand for wireless broadband. A lack of WiFi enabled devises has always been the problem even with hot spot access. The iPhone SDK combined with the announcement of Microsoft possibly getting in the phone business and Nokia‚Äôs record profits today are putting the writing on the wall. WiFi enabled devises are coming and they will be looking for a network connection.

    Let’s not forget the lap top. I my discussions with municipal workers their number one choice of wireless access devise is a ruggedized laptop. I‘ll admit I mainly talk to public safety officials who clearly tell me they need a devise that has a keyboard for big strong fat fingers. It has taken us years to get 802.11 cards in our devises and we are just now beginning to see a significant volume.

    In the past we had the problem of not having enough devises able to connect to municipal WiFi hot spots and networks. Now we will have a bunch of devises ready to connect but no network. Sounds like opportunity to me.