Apple claims iPhone not intended for business use

By Justin Mann on September 22, 2009, 5:23 PM
If you've spent any length of time studying smartphones, be it reading reviews, making comparisons, or browsing forums, you've likely heard one of the iPhone's most common criticisms: It doesn't feel like a work-worthy handset.

When pitted against the rival BlackBerry and even Windows Mobile, many people say the iPhone is not fit for someone who primarily uses a PDA for work-related activities -- and they may be more right than they know. It seems that Apple themselves have come out to state that the iPhone was not designed for business use.

While the statement may not come as a surprise to an iPhone (or any PDA) owner, Apple seems to be asserting something beyond just a friendly disclaimer. Their strong words suggest they don't even want business users as customers. This seems contrary to the App store, which has an entire catalog of software aimed at business users.

Despite that, buried within the terms and conditions of Apple's site (at least the UK flavor) is a statement saying the iPhone is only intended for personal, non-commercial use. Further, there's at least one report of someone being advised that the iPhone should be sold only to end-users for personal use.

That's not saying the iPhone can't be used in a work environment -- clearly it's an extremely flexible tool with plenty of business users -- but this isn't the first time Apple has made such a claim. What stance, exactly, is Apple taking? Are there legal issues Apple is afraid of, or is there something more?

Neowin suggests it is a taxing issue, specific to the EU. What do you think?

User Comments: 19

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Guest said:

hah apple does it always that curse you apple!!!

Guest said:

When Apple does something badly they just say it wasn't meant to do that.

Guest said:

I think Apple might be doing this to avoid some liability issues if people store sensitive data on the iPhone.

There have been articles documenting the inadequacy of iPhone security vs. Blackberry security.

This way, Apple avoids those potential legal problems and, let's face it, the high-end business user is not really Apple's targeted audience anyway. They would much rather sell to the 'popular crowd' if you will, which gives their products more cred on the avant-garde gadget circuit, so to speak.

Guest said:

ive said it over and over if u want bussiness u go with the blackberry i knew this wasnt a bussines phone to began with just another phone to attract youth

Guest said:

ive said it over and over if u want bussiness u go with the blackberry i knew this wasnt a bussines phone to began with just another phone to attract youth

Punkid said:

well if apple has infact claimed this, i would think that they have a new buisness minded device in the works

Guest said:

I'm not so sure of all of this. When I was looking at buying the iPhone online through ATT, they advertised many GPS enabled/type of applications so I could "keep track of employees" or "company vehicles....

I have though read plenty of articles that discuss how non secure the iPhone is when it comes to retrieving sensitive data. However, I personally think unless you are some hot shot who is constantly in the media spot light, who the heck would want to take your data?

I agree this phone is for the youth, but I have seen plenty of "business men/women" with an iPhone.

Guest said:

My company has recently rolled out roughly 1500 iPhones for business use, and with the help of a very patient and intelligent IT department things are working well. We have internally created an app to pull large amounts of data from our internal system and allow 1000+ sales reps and 500+ managers and support staff to access it simultaneously. While there are quite a few short comings with the iPhone it works well in a "business" environment, and provides a nice wow factor to prospective clients.

Guest said:

I think most people already realize this from two factors:

#1. Sensitive data stored on the device (How secure is the iPhone?).

#2. Built in battery that cannot be replaced.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Steve Jobs reminds me of Kanye West.

Guest said:

Please include a link to the so called statement made by Apple. I have no doubt the author is embellishing to get a good "iPhone" article that will just get people to his website. I do research for firms regarding business info and industry claims and I have never stumbled across anything remotely like the title of this "story".


Guest said:

Perhaps you're misinterpreting the disclaimer of 'personal use'. Business professionals make up a quarter, at least, of Apple's clientele. My interpretation, and Apple's general policy, is to sell to end users, not resellers. Hence the personal use clause.

Guest said:

This is going to come as a bit of a shock to my nephew. He works for Apple in Cupertino...,in the iPhone division...,where his responsibility is to sell and assist corporate IT departments in deployment of the iPhone.

Guest said:

This is the biggest pile of baloney I've read this year - complete garbage. The "author" of this article ought to be booted off TechSpot for writing this drivel.

Right on the Apple iPhone main page "iPhone for Business". Couldn't be clearer. There are probably several million "business" iPhone users laughing at this.

Sorry but this has to be classic "hit bait" to get more ad revenue for the site.

Guest said:

In comparison to the iPhone, the Blackberry feels extremely outdated. I use my iPhone mainly for business use. We have built a custom made app for it and it works flawlessly.

Guest said:

This article is either based terminally bad research, or just it is simple click trolling. In both cases, the authors and editors should be ashamed of themselves.

For one, almost any software and hardware nowadays comes with disclaimers. For example, the standard MS Office package (at least mine did) comes with a disclaimer of 'not being fit for any particular use'. Can we deduct from that that Office is unfit for business use, and MS wants those pesky business users to go away? Seems that simple reasoning has gone the way of the dod at techspot.

Also, did the kind people at Techspot forget the fact that Apple offers enterprises of sufficient size (i.e. *large*) their own version of the iTunes store for simplified harmonized software deployment? How did that important, well known (at least to professional IT) fact slip by the authors?

If the iPhone is fit for business or not is beside the point (and I'm stating neither), but obvious fact is the Apple is indeed going after Business.


Guest said:

One question then....why go after exchange support?

Guest said:

While this may have been true at the intital launch of the iphone, when there was no business plan available from AT&T, as more businesses began to use the iphone new policy was implemented. I know this because i was an apple tech support agent at the time this change occured.

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