Recently, Citrix announced and demoed their App Receiver for iPhone product, which will allow iPhone users working for a company with a Citrix XenApp implementation to run Windows applications on their iPhone remotely.
While this is not the first Windows Terminal Server (WTS)-type client for the iPhone, there are a few important differences I noted from the demos on Citrix’s site. Citrix has put some time into making their implementation a good iPhone application: rather than making you push and pull the Windows Desktop and Explorer around to get to your files, Citrix has abstracted the Windows environment so that you can more effectively get to folders in My Documents and other locations in a way that is efficient using the iPhone UI.
The “normal” way of dragging and double-tapping repeatedly to access files and folders in WTS clients on the iPhone gets tiresome quickly. Citrix employs a columnar method that looks nicer. There’s nothing that can be done about actually using Windows applications on an iPhone, but every little bit helps.
Performance optimisations and better scale. Based on the demos I saw, it also appears that Citrix has done a lot of work on optimising the performance of applications running in XenApp, so that the languorous performance I occasionally run into with existing iPhone WTS clients, even on WiFi networks, should be minimised in the Citrix client. This is important if you’re in a situation where you can’t get Wi-Fi access.