The iPhone will NOT sync with Microsoft Outlook/Exchange, might be upgradeable to 3G

Update: Now that we’re close to launch (in three days), I’ve posted more on this topic. Still no clear answer as to whether or not the iPhone will work with Exchange Server, but some big names, like Walt Mossberg and Mary Jo Foley have weighed in with their opinions, and I did (again) with mine. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

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This is going to be a big deal for geeks like me who work at big companies that use Microsoft Outlook and Exchange for calendaring and email. David Pogue says:

Will it sync with Outlook? �No.

Ouch. It seems like there’s been some backlash about what the iPhone can’t/won’t do, and what people wish it would do. Maybe we’re all tired of reading iPhone phones on every blog under the sun (whoops! ;-)). There’s some more information in Pogue’s FAQ Part 2:

�If it doesn�t sync with Outlook, does that mean it will not be compatible with Windows OS?� �No, it�s definitely Windows-compatible, in that it syncs with iTunes. (Music, photos, videos, etc.)

Personally, I’d be happy to ditch Outlook/Exchange, and go to some completely Mac-based system. I’ve actually been trying to wean my wife Rachel off of Outlook and on to more portable web-based solutions like Gmail and Google Calendar. But having instant wireless access to my work email/calendar/contacts/tasks, basically, carrying my Outlook data in my pocket, has improved my productivity more than anything I’ve done in the last few years. It would be really, really hard to walk away from that.

Another interesting note is Pogue’s FAQ is that Steve Jobs said there will be a 3G/HSDPA version when “there’s enough HSDPA coverage in this country to justify it.

Oh, come ON! It’s completely backwards compatible with EDGE! The cost can’t be more than a couple of dollars per unit over an EDGE-only radio, and there’s no downside! Why not put it in the first version?! Create some demand for fast wireless, rather than waiting for it to sprout up!

/end rant

Ask me how I really feel about this… I don’t think I’ve ever used so many exclamation points in a single paragraph. 😉

(Later…) Here’s some more information from part 2 of Pogue’s FAQ post, which leaves us with a dim, distant, pinpoint glimmer of hope that the iPhone might be upgradeable to HSDPA (via a software or firmware update):

�No 3G is almost a deal breaker. EDGE is horrible for a device this advanced�how did that get overlooked?� �It wasn�t overlooked. 3G (HSDPA) is available only in a few cities. Apple says that when it�s more prevalent, the company will upgrade the iPhone.


Why can’t I just have patience, and wait until June to worry about these things? 😉


24 thoughts on “The iPhone will NOT sync with Microsoft Outlook/Exchange, might be upgradeable to 3G

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  5. Mike says:

    Hi Josh, love hearing some rants on iPhone “misses”. I think the iPhone is a great idea with wonderful user-oriented design, but locking it to Cingular? And using EDGE?–these are definite misses and one annot help but wonder what Jobs is thinking.

    As for moving to web-based services, I made the job during my prep to leave Intel and have not looked back. I traded Outlook for gmail/Google Calendar and am happy at those times I have a connection. But I finally backed that combination up with Thunderbird/Lightning because I like to still be able to work when I don’t have an Internet connection, which still happens a bunch.

    Just for fun, I also traded MS Office out for OpenOffice and I’m pretty sure I won’t go back. Oh yeah, I tried the online Google apps, but there’s that same problem of not always having a connection when you want to write something up or find a file. Another ye4ar or two of maturation and someone will come up with a nice, clean solution, but right now it is not-ready-for-prime-time.

  6. Andrew says:

    I LOOOOOVE that comment from Steve Jobs.. “enough HSDPA coverage in this country to justify it.” you know – maybe if he actually cared about the customer – instead of just trying to shove the “latest greatest down their throats the easiest way possible” he would have gone w/ Verizon who has a better reputation, more loyal users, almost nationwide 3G, and much better service overall.

    The iPhone is DOA – no 3G (with the lamest excuse ever as the reasoning) no Outlook/Exchange syncing (now no reputable business person or company will purchase it), and such a high price tag that 9 out of 10 teens (since thats the only market left pretty much) cant afford it.

    Hopefully he’ll realize that he went waay overboard with this one, and there will be some SIGNIFICANT changes before its launch, or else it will another Apple Newton – or Nokia nGage.

  7. You probably can’t wait because Steve’s attitude is so arrogant and infuriating. Basically, Steve is telling us that we’ll accept his POV regardless of what we think. That attitude leads to some very innovative things, but also limits the market.

    Tieing the iPhone to only one carrier is going to be the achilles heel for this device. As sexy the device is, no one carrier has enough coverage in the U.S. to justify mass numbers of people switching just to buy a phone. In the end it still is about making and receiving phone calls, and the network is the most important part of that equation. If phones were powerful enough to move mass numbers of people I am sure Nokia & Motorolla would have already done so, since I am sure it would be easier and cheaper to work with just one carrier.

    You might be able to buy sim-lock free versions of the iPhone on the Internet at some ridiculous prices, but the market buys mobile phones from carriers.

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  10. You may all rail against Steve, but the fact remains that he has developed a very cool device and while in some ways lame, in other ways very cool.

    What remains to be seen is what will Steve do for an encore on this product, I am sure he knew enterprise email would be an issue, but he may have needed to also do a proof of concept to himself and to Apple investors, or he could be betting on a relationship with Microsoft and other to support Enterprise email on the iPhone in the coming months.

    It may also be that he just pain has his head up his back side… however I really do not see this as being the case. I think Steve needed to form an alliance with a cell provider to get iPhone off of the ground and in the next two years we will see others come on board as they have with Palm and Blackberry.

    The other options like 3G, I think this was an AT&T thing and I am sure not just a Steve Jobs (Apple) thing. My guess is he was limited by the vendor and so he turned a ‘-‘ in to a ‘ ‘ in his address to make it seem like they were forward thinking.

    The other issue is the worldwide compatibility of the iPhone, HSDPA is found worldwide, even if it is a slower less robust solution. So to that point if you are going global… HSDPA is not the worst thing in the world.

    My predictions are this :
    1. Apple will launch and do well, but will be a very tuff sell in the enterprise email market
    2. Apple will learn from the launch what needs to be in the next generation iPhone in the coming year or during the coming year announce upgrades for options like Enterprise Email, Maybe even have a Microsoft Outlook Client 3rd Party solution.
    3. When apple and Verizon get in to bed, it bet it will be 3G they will be talking
    4. All cell manufacture will be getting on the visual voice mail bandwagon in the next two years
    5. The new Palm will do well with current Palm users, but will likely lose market to the iPhone, as will everyone else once Enterprise email support is announced.

    If I where Steve I would do this and much more. One thing is very clear, with iPhone Apple has a tiger by the tail, I want to see if they can hold on. Don’t you?

  11. motherofmicrowave says:

    my god! You people have not even seen the product. It amazes me that you can invest so much time bitching about something you truly know nothing about. And this makes all of you experts on the product how? So wait for it. If you don’t like it take it back! And stop complaining! People that assume make asses of them selves only!

  12. Larry Seltzer says:


    I have several clients who would love to purchase the IPhone, with the expectation that it WILL synchronize their calendar and contacts within Outlook 2003/2007. So what do I tell them? Sure, it’s a great phone, but now you have to throw out your PC and purchase an IMac. Not going to happen.

    Couldn’t find any information on Apple’s site detailing information about Outlook integration. Why is this important? Because it’s probably the #1 e-mail/personal information manager application on earth. Palm has a huge following and even that can synchronize with Outlook.

    I’m just waiting for the 3rd party support.

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  14. Mark says:

    If you need to sync outlook calendars from a corporate outlook server don’t buy the iPhone. I’ve been working on this with Apple reps since Early July and it still won’t work. Contacts do synch – but I’m sunk – because now I have to print my calendar and carry it around. After spending hours on the phone from work trying to get this sorting out, I gave up. Maybe I should go back to my Treo.

  15. Sandeep Madduri says:

    Hi All,

    I was able to use SoonR ( to launch MS Outlook through my iPhone.

    The application allows you to share folders/applications on your workstation(desktop/laptop) and allows you to launch them from your phone. Works fine as long as your workstation is running!

    Hope this helps..
    Sandeep Madduri

  16. Ellen Lawlor says:

    I am so frustrated with my iphone, I was ignorant and didnt do my research regarding this iphone I too have a problem with my outlook syncing with my calendar, everything else works. I have spent so many hours with apple, dell and at&t. I just wish the guy who sold me the phone had listened to what my needs where, something reliable as I travel all the time for work, I had a treo 680 that developed a mind of its own and wanted to get a phone that I could get my email ect. This phone is very delicate and has to be handeled with kid gloves, well as a consumer I am left holding an empty money bag. I wish you could delete emails in a group instead of individually this would be a helpful upgrade in the next version.

  17. G Dab says:

    iphone will not sync contacts, what saying Iphone false, I still like imate as easy to sync contacts from Outlook and easy to write sms’s

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  21. mr exchange says:

    Iphone is just normal touch phone, nothing else (no 3g, bad camera, phone is locked to dummies must unlock before install any apps, bad speakers,bad itunes for sync,can not access to whole builtin 16gb mem from windows only fast cpu inside.) im waiting for my HTC touch diamond coming soon. 😉

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