Saturday, March 8, 2008

Better Exchange Support Coming to Apple Mail?

On Thursday, Apple announced its Roadmap for the future of the iPhone. Great fanfare was made of the forthcoming SDK and the Enterprise features being introduced in the 2.0 release of the iPhone software. There was much rejoicing.

One interesting tidbit mentioned during the press event was that Apple has licensed the Microsoft ActiveSync technology to tightly integrate the iPhone with Micrsoft's Exchange server. This nifty bit of software will allow things like push email, calendar and contact updates from the server to the iPhone. In a nutshell, Mail on the iPhone will now have the same tight integration with Exchange that Outlook does on the Windows OS.

This raised an interesting question in my mind....

Will on OS X also benefit from this licensing deal?

Mr. Jobs and the Apple leadership went to great lengths to show that the iPhone is really just a small Mac. It runs the same underlying operating system code. It runs the same Objective-C based applications. It's a Mac in every sense, with a few minor enhancements.

If that's true, why couldn't the desktop versions on, iCal and Address Book benefit from this new ActiveSync integration like the iPhone versions will? It should be fairly trivial to make the changes in both places, right?

Many corporate users have bemoaned the lack of true Exchange support in For that matter, even Entourage 2008 doesn't have full Exchange support. Both use IMAP4 to interact with the Exchange server. It works, but it's not the most elegant (or reliable) solution.

I may be reading the tea leaves incorrectly, but I'm guessing we're about to see a much more robust version of Apple Mail coming to a Mac desktop near you very soon. Here's to hoping...

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