John Welch has a good review online in Information Week titled Two Weeks With An iPhone that talks about the iPhone with a particular slant of using the iPhone in enterprise environments. It’s worth a read – though I have to admit to being biased to liking the only other person I’ve heard of who admits to having owned a Kyocera 6035 Smartphone (which was, not coincidentally, the last phone before the iPhone I owned that had the sense to have a dedicated vibrate/ring button).
One of the first things he talks about in the review is calendar syncing, and he agrees with what I’ve been guessing at, which is that we’ll see over-the-air calendar synchronization via CalDAV when Apple releases the Leopard version of OS X. He also takes a guess as to what that might mean for Exchange users, who currently can’t sync calendar entries to the iPhone, and he thinks it likely that the iPhone will also do LDAP in that time frame, which would be lovely:
The truth is, until Mac OS X Leopard is released, I doubt that there will be any options for over the air (OTA) sync of anything other than e-mail. Currently, Apple doesn’t have a calendaring solution. They don’t have a really good way to deal with networked user contact databases. Since there’s no provision for OTA sync of contacts and events to any kind of server, third-party support for this is, shall we say, tricky.
However, come October and the release of Leopard Server, that changes. Apple will have a calendaring/group contact solution. I’ll give you 80% odds right now that within a few weeks, if not days of the release of Leopard, you’re going to see an update to the iPhone which will allow for OTA sync to CalDAV servers, and probably some OTA LDAP love, too. After all, why would Apple keep the iPhone from connecting to its own products? I quote from the Chewbacca Defense: “It does not make sense.”
Once you have published ways to get contact and event data in and out of the iPhone over the air, then dealing with Exchange/Domino-style connectivity becomes far simpler, as you only have to make your server act in a way that’s compatible with the iPhone. So I’ll hazard that, post-Leopard, iPhone connectivity will get a lot easier.
We know that Apple is using CalDAV for its calendar client/server protocol in Leopard, and that Oracle will also be using CalDAV for Oracle Calendar (along with others like Novell and Kerio). Hopefully as this new protocol gains adherents we’ll see Microsoft engineer CalDAV functionality into Exchange and Outlook, or at the very least we’re likely to see third-party vendors build add-ons for those products that speak CalDAV. It’s interesting to think that the impact of the iPhone could end up driving the adoption of this new open protocol.