updated 03:45 pm EDT, Tue June 26, 2007
iPhone Exchange Support
The iPhone could well have explicit support for Microsoft's Exchange mail service after all, according to sources speaking with Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet. While the handheld is so far only guaranteed to support Exchange through the IMAP protocol, a choice seldom used by companies, the veteran journalist says that Apple intends to make the iPhone's e-mail client compatible with Exchange Server. This would come by licensing and then slipstreaming ActiveSync support into the iPhone, which in turn would enable secure corporate mail as well as constant updates for calendars and contact lists.
This update would eliminate one of the commonly cited barriers to adopting the iPhone in the workplace, Foley says. While most major cellphone producers have long since signed up for ActiveSync -- including direct rivals Motorola, Nokia, Palm, and Sony-Ericsson -- Apple has so far made no mention of pursuing this route, which currently eliminates it from consideration as a work phone for companies that are heavily dependent on Microsoft's Exchange backend.
The sources are clear that an announcement will be made this week regarding Exchange, according to the editor, and may come as soon as Wednesday. Less than clear is whether or not the added support will be preloaded with the phone or come later as part of a software update in coming months.
Both Apple and Microsoft have so far declined comment on the report, though Microsoft has added that it routinely speaks with companies about licensing ActiveSync.