Apple announced today its newest member of the iPhone family — the iBiz. Making a surprise appearance, Apple CEO Steve Jobs described the iBiz as something that "just feels right. The iBiz enchants, captivates and contains your entire business life. It's spellbinding, fast and magical — it's all about you."
The tag line "It's business time" showed that the company had a sense of humour, with New Zealand comedy group Flight of the Conchords performing its song of the same name before the presentation commenced.
Coming off the back of an unexpected collaboration with RIM, the iBiz inherits the BlackBerry's physical keyboard and RIM's famous email system. "We're getting serious about business," Jobs said. To ease transition into the business world, improvements to iOS's Exchange and Windows domain support have also been included, along with new remote administration, lockdown and VPN tools that "will be released in the coming months". Businesses will be able to legitimately unlock their phones, also known as "jailbreaking" within the Apple community for a US$59 per head fee, allowing them to install their own custom apps, or indeed remove default apps from the iBiz that tech departments don't want there.
The iBiz is expected to sell for US$319 exclusively with AT&T in the US in July 2011, with no word on when it will reach Australia.
Apple is also expected to make an announcement concerning a new line of server products later today to tie in with the business phone announcement, despite discontinuing its Xserve product in November 2010.
Yep, this was an April fool's joke. If an iPhone ever appears with a physical keyboard, we'll be very, very surprised.