I finally broke down and got an iPhone. In the few weeks I have had it I find it really excels as a phone that does email and browses the web, which are the things I mostly do. Because its heritage includes the iPod it is also a world class music player. But there are several facets that, for a business user of the phone, leave a lot to be desired.
I’m talking about the lack of integrated calendar, to do list and notes functionality that syncs back to a desktop application. Now I have most of that done. I get my contacts back and forth from my desktop to my Gmail accounts using the Zindus Thunderbird plugin. I get the calendar data back and forth between the desktop and Gmail using Gmail Calendar Provider. Then I get calendar and contact data to and from the iPhone using the NuevaSync service. This seems less complicated to me than it actually was because I came to these solutions incrementally. If I had to do it all from scratch it would be overwhelming. But now that I have it set up it works fine.
Not so for note taking and task lists. There is no sync functionality with the native iPhone note taking app. There are a plethora of note taking applications available, but all of them suffer from some fatal flaw. Evernote has the sexiest functionality set and includes a Windows desktop client with good looks and a feature set that rivals OneNote. But there is so much functionality that the application on the iPhone is hard to use and two big problems: notes are not available offline on the phone unless you mark them as favorites and you can’t search your notes offline. Curing those two problems would go a long way to making this a great service.
Task lists are also problematic. The task list leader is Remember the Milk (RTM). The catch here is that its $25 per year to use with your iPhone (you need a pro account to get the iPhone app). $25 a year for a task list, you have to be kidding. For the price of the iPhone they should give me a task list that syncs with Outlook or the to do list on the Mac. Same for notes.
These are fundamental problems that need to be addressed if Apple is serious about moving into the enterprise. What do they think enterprise users do? The answer is, among other things, they manage their tasks and take notes.