Amongst numerous other announcements related to the iPhone and iPod touch software roadmap, Apple today announced that version 2.0 of the iPhone and iPod touch software will arrive in June of this year, bringing with it features designed to support corporate and enterprise customers, as well as downloadable applications developed using a new iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). The 2.0 software, which will be available to certain of Apple’s enterprise customers on a test basis before June, will enable users to download iPhone and iPod touch applications through a section of the Mac and PC iTunes Store called the App Store, as well as directly via a new iPhone and iPod touch App Store icon, which parallels the iTunes Wi-Fi Store designed specifically for software applications. Apple will replace the current iTunes icon on iPhones and iPod touches with one that stays purple but features a musical note in the center, while the App Store will gain the same icon, only in blue, and with an applications icon in the center.
Enterprise features announced by Apple today include integrated support for Microsoft Exchange servers via ActiveSync, improved Cisco IPsec VPN functionality, enterprise class wireless features with support for 802.1x and WPA2 security, and the ability to protect data if an iPhone is stolen. Most interestingly, ActiveSync has been licensed by Apple from Microsoft for installation on the iPhone, such that the 2.0 software update will enable business users to receive “push” e-mail, contact, and calendar data without manual checking or physical synchronization; each can be sent directly from an Exchange server to the iPhone, wherever it is connected to an EDGE or Wi-Fi network. Similar push technology will enable a company to wipe an iPhone clean of data automatically if it is stolen. No new iPhone applications will be needed to use these features; the existing e-mail, calendar, and contacts applications will handle pushed data.
Apple’s 2.0 software update will be free of charge for iPhone owners and available for a “nominal” fee to iPod touch users.