Wireless Network Administration: iPhone Basics - dummies

Wireless Network Administration: iPhone Basics

In just a few short years after introduction, the iPhone has captured a huge share of a market that was previously owned almost exclusively by RIM and its BlackBerry devices. Some experts predict that the iPhone will eventually take over the lead that BlackBerry has in the smartphone market — especially if Apple ever releases its exclusive contract with AT&T so that other cell phone providers can offer iPhones that work on their networks.

The iPhone is essentially a combination of four different devices:

  • A cell phone

  • An iPod with a memory capacity of either 8, 16, or 32GB

  • A 2- or 3-megapixel digital camera

  • An Internet device with its own web browser (named Safari) and other applications such as e-mail, calendar, and contact management

The most immediately noticeable feature of the iPhone is its lack of a keyboard. Instead, nearly the entire front surface of the iPhone is occupied by a high-resolution, touch-sensitive LCD display. The display is not only the main output device of the iPhone, but also its main input device.

When necessary, the display becomes either a keypad input for dialing a telephone number or a keyboard for entering text. You can also use various finger gestures, such as tapping icons to start programs or pinching to zoom in the display.

In addition, the iPhone has several other innovative features:

  • An accelerometer tracks the motion of the iPhone in three directions. The main use of the accelerometer is to adjust the orientation of the display from landscape to portrait based on how the user is holding the phone. Some other applications — mostly games — use the accelerometer as well.

  • A Wi-Fi interface lets the iPhone connect to local Wi-Fi networks for faster Internet access.

  • GPS capability provides location-awareness for many applications, including Google Maps.

  • The VPN client lets you connect to your internal network.

Of all the unique features of the iPhone, probably the most important is its huge collection of third-party applications that can be downloaded from a special web portal called the App Store. Many of these applications are free or cost just a few dollars. (Many are just $0.99 or $1.99.)

In April 2010, there were more than 150,000 applications available on the App Store. These applications provide everything from business productivity to games.

As innovative as the iPhone is, it isn’t without limitations. Here are a few of the most significant limitations business users will encounter with the iPhone as of April 2010:

  • Limited battery life. Compared with other devices, the iPhone battery life is relatively short. You’ll need to keep it on a charger as much as you can.

  • Speaking of the battery, it is not user-replaceable. If the battery goes bad, you have to take the dead iPhone to an Apple store to have the battery replaced — a process which can take several days if the phone is not under warranty.

  • Although the iPhone has VPN capability, it doesn’t have a native file storage system that lets you navigate into your network’s file servers to copy or save files.

  • The iPhone is available only from AT&T. It doesn’t work with other cell phone networks.