Where is the iPhone’s presence?

iPhone SDK location map

While the Core Location API is a very intriguing aspect of the iPhone’s potential for LBS and social networking, there was no mention of Presence which you’d think would really be a key piece to making it all click together.

There’s been plenty of speculation about Android and the Google acquisition of Jaiku which could very easily deliver Phonebook 2.0 – an integrated view of location, availability and sense of status. In other words, you have a rich contextual view of who you know. I expect Android to deliver this …

Jaiku does this today on the S60 platform and offers a very rich view of your contacts including bits from their lifestreams. Jaiku is even smart enough to read your calendar and offer a busy view when you are booked in a meeting. Quite a few of my friends enjoy this view and we spend a lot of time interacting within the application rather than the native contacts. It’s just as easy to call or message but with more context and knowledge about the person.

There’s nothing preventing someone from writing an application for the iPhone to do something similar, but it’s interesting that iPhone has not gone in this direction natively. Given that Apple is pretty focused on closed systems (usually to enhance user experience) they could push an iPhone driven social network with their very active and engaged user base. With the global release for iPhone 3G, the potential for this to shake out against Jaiku, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed etc could be rather substantial and it would lead with mobile.

Presence is something that companies like Avaya, Microsoft and Cisco are pushing for within unified communications suites and mobile is a key component. With the iPhone’s new focus towards enterprise, I Apple could lead the pack with an very strong play here. They could be the new default over Blackberry with this type of integration … an interesting spin as RIM seeks more attention from the consumer. The iPhone is a consumer device first though – at least in this generation.

Perhaps this is still too geeky … though I think over the course of this current generation of mobile adoption we will certainly see something more along these lines.

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