We have a few users that have iphones. The semi-new ability for an iphone to connect to an Exchange account is great, but there is still a bit of missing functionality. I recently had an iphone user request that I find a way to sync his notes with his virtually-hosted exchange account. To do this the Apple way, we need to sync the notes over the cable to a computer that has itunes installed and has an Outlook profile with the Exchange account that we need to sync with.
Traditionally, this is a simple task that requires a cable and itunes. Even in a virtual environment, we have the ability to pass USB devices to the virtual machine. But how long would it take before Apple prompts the user to update the iphone firmware, and not realizing that the process of an update like this could take hours (or days) over the internet, the user clicks “Yes”.
The other solution would be to have a local instance of Outlook and itunes and sync in the traditional way. The problem with this method is that we’re trying to move away from supporting two computers per user, and this solution would put us right back into that position.
I started searching for a third party application to sync notes between exchange and the iphone, hopefully cutting out itunes, and if possible the USB cable. Well, I found it. iMExchange. And it also syncs Tasks over the air. It communicates through Outlook Web Access, so there isn’t a specific server-side component that needs to run. There are many apps out there that sync notes or tasks with the iphone, but few attempt to sync the native notes and tasks from Outlook. This app syncs to it’s own notes/tasks app on the iphone, but given the extreme simplicity of the native notes app (and lack of a native tasks app), the third party iphone app can only be looked upon as an improvement.