iPhone gets busy signal

Bizzers hung up on new gadget

Hollywood’s huge horde of tech-savvy showoffs may be eager to get their hands on an iPhone, but their employers aren’t likely to be handing any out.

Across the entertainment biz, studios, networks and agencies have been busy informing employees that, despite the frequent pleas, they can’t replace their Blackberry with the drool-inducing device, which goes on sale today at 6 p.m.

IPhone-hungry employees at most of the big tenpercenteries, as well as several networks and studios, confirmed that they have been told by their IT departments that they can’t do company business on an iPhone due to security and compatibility problems.

In fact, companies including HBO and Warner Bros. sent memos to all employees telling them to stop bugging the IT department — they’re not getting one.

“While there is great anticipation and buzz around the iPhone, it is intended primarily for the consumer market,” read the Warner email. “It lacks key security features which make it unsuitable, in it’s (sic) present form, as a corporate email device. At WB and all of TW, we have standardized on the Blackberry and expect to continue with this standard.”

There has been speculation that Apple may add software that would allow iPhones to work with Blackberry servers. But even if it does so, it could still take a while for companies to take the plunge. That’s because most IT departments want time to evaluate a new device’s security features — especially its capacity for sneaking viruses past the corporate firewall — before blessing them.

Besides the issues that concern IT staffs, iPhones also may not appeal to Hollywood types who do so much of their business on the go. Device’s touch-screen keyboard has been getting mixed reviews and may not be ideal for those used to speed-typing emails all day on a Blackberry, which has a full keypad built in.

“No keyboard — like a full-on Blackberry — no deal, at least for me,” said one admittedly Apple-obsessed exec. “I want to write memos anywhere, anytime.”

“I like the latest thing, but probably that goes more for clothes and cars than gadgets,” added Disney Channel Worldwide topper Rich Ross.

In a somewhat ironic twist, some of the execs who deal most with tech may have good reason not to carry around an iPhone. CBS exec veep in charge of wireless Cyriac Roeding recently said he wouldn’t use the iPhone as his primary phone because he wants to be in touch with most of his consumers — so he carries a Razr.

Nonetheless, this is Hollywood, and the town’s early adopters, who spread the gospel on TiVo and turned others’ envy over their first-gen Blackberrys, are going to want one anyway.

So what’s a trend-addicted, style-focused bizzer to do? Carry two devices.

“I’ll make my booty calls with the iPhone and get reamed in the ass by my boss on my Blackberry,” cracked one senior studio exec.

That’s a pricey proposition, however. The first-gen iPhone costs $600 (though, as with the iPod, future versions will likely come down in price). And to make it work, industryites used to having a free cell phone will have to start paying their own bills.

But some creative types are already planning to buy one regardless of the tech politics and the cost.

“I’m in love with it, and I’m dying to get one,” said former WB Network entertainment prexy David Janollari, who just hung out his shingle on the Warners lot. “It looks like the coolest thing on the planet.”

Producer Josh Schwartz — who’s preparing to launch two shows (“Chuck,” “Gossip Girl”) in the fall — also said he’ll definitely be carrying an iPhone soon.

“It’s like missing out on the Walkman,” he said of those who might hesitate. “It looks fun, and I love all my other Apple products.”

Schwartz doesn’t use a Blackberry, so he’s not worried about compatibility issues. He’s also found a very Hollywood way to get his hands on the much-coveted communications device.

“I’m going to steal it off the ‘Chuck’ prop truck and claim I camped out for it,” he quipped.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Digital News from Variety