iPhone Enterprise Hooks: Will They Reach Mail.app?

Gelaskin by Giselle Silvestri

So I watched the iPhone event today and I’ve read as many blogs as I can on the subject, but I still haven’t seen any information about whether all of the great enterprise capabilities to be released in June will also make their way into Apple’s desktop e-mail client. I think the iPhone SDK, the games, and all of the other stuff announced today were great, but as I’ve said before, there’s really not a whole lot I need to do on my iPhone today that I can’t already, except for interact with Exchange.

I predicted in December that Apple would take a dual path strategy towards supporting both open-standard enterprise protocols like IMAP/iCalendar and proprietary Exchange protocols, and it appears this is now coming to fruition, but in all of the announcements today, there was no mention of the desktop version of Mail.app.

To those of us using Macs in an Exchange environment, this is kind of a big deal. Yeah there’s Entourage 2008 which can tunnel into certain Exchange functions via Outlook Web Access protocols, and there’s Mail.app’s crippled Exchange-Over-IMAP capability, but seeing as OS X lives both on the desktop and in the iPhone, why shouldn’t the desktop version of Apple Mail get all of this great new ActiveSync Exchange stuff too? Currently, the only way I’m able to sync all of my devices, calendars, contacts, and email together, whether it be Mac, Exchange, or iPhone is by using Entourage as a conduit into .Mac and then propagating everything out this way. I’ve been doing this since early in the Office 2008 beta and it works *just* well enough to be useful, but it’s very hacky and seemingly dangerous at times (like when entire calendars get duplicated or deleted).

Anyone heard anything on the Mail.app Enterprise support front? In all the fuss about the iPhone today, this pretty important side issue got zero airtime.

3 comments on “iPhone Enterprise Hooks: Will They Reach Mail.app?”. Leave your own?
  1. Apple had to license exchange to put it into the iPhone, I’m not sure they’d be willing to do that for Mail.app. Exchange helps them sell more iPhones and I believe they get somewhat of a recurring fee through the ATT/O2/etc contracts they sell, so the value equation works out.

    I don’t know if the same incentive exists on the Mac proper. Microsoft has Entourage—it’s garbage, but satisfies Apple’s ability to check the box that says “we *can* support Exchange on Macs”. Maybe they could release a paid upgrade for Mail.app that supported Exchange for enterprises.

  2. Wondering if this would translate to the desktop client was the first thing I wondering about when read about this on Newsvine.

    I hate Mail. I use Thunderbird. But not real happy with it. I use IMAP Gmail (for Domain Hosted) for e-mail. I use this crazy script I found on Lifehacker called GCalDaemon to sync Calendar (I haven’t gotten it to work on contacts yet).

    But if I could have a stable, syncable Calendar, Address Book, Meeting Management, and E-mail – I would seriously reconsider using Apple Mail, Calendar & Address Book.

  3. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

    One of my deal breaker criteria for taking a new job or not is if they use the Exchange platform. I find it insufferable. Eliminating MS Exchange from my life has made me exponentially happier. Calendaring and email are too big a part of my workflow to entrust to a system that I can “just get by” in. My platform needs to be as fun to use as Photo Booth and as reliable or NetNewsWire.

    There has been a HUGE opportunity for third party developers here for a long time. You think someone would have jumped on it by now. Don’t make me learn Objective C, man. Apple can’t be the only company allowed to license ActiveSync from Microsoft.

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