BusinessWeek details some of the industry speculation taking place prior to the next major scheduled release of the iPhone operating system in June. According to the story, the carrier is considering lowering prices on data plans and/or offering more varied data plan options to cater to a wider range of consumer demand. This seems like a fairly typical tactic once the market has become more or less saturated at the current pricing, but it also appears to be the result of some pressure from Apple, which is itself considering lower priced models as hardware cost reductions have allowed more flexibility.
This is all good news for the consumer, but what about business? Apple and AT&T's efforts to move into the business smartphone market have been anemic… it took AT&T a full year to introduce any business plan for the phone, and the plan they ultimately unveiled was absolutely not worth the wait. They essentially offered the iPhone as a plan option on their other corporate plans, which completely ignored the strengths and different utilization patterns of the phone.
Considering the burgeoning demand for the device among corporate users, this seems like a terrible oversight, and while Apple's consumer focus to the exclusion of business is almost legendary, it is also curiously short-sighted: having created an environment where business users are practically smuggling their personally purchased iPhones into corporations under the IT department's nose, neither Apple nor AT&T are moving to capitalize on the buzz by offering corporate IT departments a realistic, easy option for rolling the device out.
The iPhone is already cheaper than many standard corporate smartphones but the data plans are punishing considering the depth of the browsing experience available. I would love to see AT&T share the love with corporate users first, introducing innovative and flexible data plans to cover business uses, broadening their market share before cutting their pricing to pull in a less lucrative layer of personal users.