iPhone software roadmap: You’ve got (Exchange) mail?

"Some exciting enterprise features." Those were the magic words in the e-mail that Apple (aapl) analysts and journalists received Wednesday from the company's media events department.

The invitation for a March 6 "special event," illustrated with a map and directions to the company's Cupertino campus, was music to the ears of software developers, who've been itching to get their hands on the SDK (software developers kit) ever since Steve Jobs promised it back in October.

It's not clear whether the SDK will be released that day or merely promoted to the press, but clearly the thing is close to ready. Apple's share prices jumped a point or so on the news.

What caught my eye, however, were those four magic words -- and the blue box on the invitation roadmap labeled ENTERPRISE. The one thing that's kept me, and many of my colleagues, from buying an iPhone (rather than, in my case, borrowing one) has been the reluctance of our IT department to support any mobile that doesn't support Microsoft Exchange Server. (They also insist on a way to remotely kill a lost or stolen phone, but one thing at a time.) A smartphone (or a smart iPod) that doesn't deliver my office e-mail just doesn't cut it.

That's what "enterprise" means to me. And if Apple or one of its partners delivers it next Thursday, I'll finally be ready to plunk down my $399.

For more on the special event, see the traffic on Techmeme (here) and the discussion on TMO's Apple Finance Board (here).

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