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Is the iPhone finally ready to do business?

Before Apple announced its plans to allow third-party developers to create software for the iPhone,

Gartner Research

believed the popular mobile was nothing more than a tablet with very little usefulness in the corporate world. But now, the research firm has changed its tune.

Following the announcement of iPhone software v2.0, the influential analyst will update its recommendation for the iPhone and elevate it to 'appliance-level' support status, which permits the device to be used for email, telephony and browsing applications in a business environment.

Garter changes its tune

"In its initial release, the iPhone was, with few exceptions, an Internet tablet with browser-based applications as its main offering, however, the release of firmware 2.0 changes that, enabling enterprises to develop local code and create applications that do not depend on network capabilities," said Gartner analyst and vice president Ken Dulaney.

"The iPhone will thus match up initially in several segments against its main smartphone competitors -- BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian Series 60" he concluded.

Gartner's endorsement is a major step forward for Apple, which has been criticised for its inability to address many of the concerns currently being expressed by businesses, so look for the iPhone to be a major competitor in the enterprise market before long.