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iPhone To Get Smarter, Take On Smartphones For Use

Cupertino, Calif. — Apple previewed new software that will enable the iPhone to compete directly with smartphones and compete for adoption by business.

The iPhone 2.0 software includes new enterprise features such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support to provide over-the-air push email, contacts and calendars to business. Another new enterprise feature is the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks.

The 2.0 software, scheduled for June release, also provides such productivity features as viewing of PowerPoint, Word and Excel attachments and the ability to mass delete and move email messages.

The 2.0 software also enables software developers to create enterprise and consumer applications for the phone, just as they do for Palm, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry-based smartphones. The applications, however, will also be able to run on the iPod Touch. The final software, including the new enterprise features, will be available as a free update for all iPhone users, but iPod Touch users will have to buy a software update to run the applications.

A beta release of the software is available to selected developers and enterprise customers.

The software update also adds WPA2 Enterprise with 802.1x authentication to make it possible for enterprises to deploy iPhone and iPod touches with enhanced security when accessing Wi-Fi networks, Apple added.

The software provides a configuration utility that allows IT administrators to quickly set up many iPhones with password policies, VPN setting, installing certificates, email server settings and the like. Once the configuration is defined, it can be delivered via Web link or email to the user, Apple said. IT will also enable IT departments to remotely wipe data off the phone.