VMware View client for the iPhone

Disclaimer: I am an avid VMware user and I work from a VMware View 5 desktop on a regular basis.

With that being said, I am still disappointed in VMware’s lack of a View Client for the iPhone. They have created a client for the iPad, with full PCoIP support. In fact, this is a very impressive client with creative solutions to the “touchscreen to mouse” problems when using an OS like Windows XP or Windows 7 that was not created for use on a touchscreen device. Using gestures and even a virtual trackpad, navigating a Windows desktop in this client is pretty intuitive.

VMware has also released a similar client for Android, working on both Android tablets and phones. However, the iPad client WILL NOT WORK ON THE IPHONE! This is very frustrating. As I ask around within VMware, I regularly hear that there is no interest in the end-user community for an iPhone client. On that point, I have to disagree. I am not only an end-user that would love to have this client, but I regularly work with customers that are also asking for this feature. Look at almost any blog post written on the topic, and the comments will be full of people asking for VMware to provide an iPhone client.

With as much discussion as I see and hear for this, it escapes me why VMware thinks there is no interest. Is the iPhone the ideal format for accessing a VDI desktop, no. However, if you want “anywhere, anytime” access to your desktop, your smartphone is the one device you always have with you. I currently have to leave RDP enabled on my VDI desktop, which prohibits me from using some advanced PCoIP features. However, I do this to support the WYSE Pocket Cloud app on my iPhone, as that is the only way to access my desktop in a pinch. On several occasions, I have had to resort to this method for fulfilling quick requests or fixing issues prior to performing a demo.

Even if I am an anomaly, and no one else would ever use this feature, I am still surprised that VMware has not placed a higher priority on it. If nothing else, I would have thought this would be a marketing priority. Even if no one will use it, this is an item that VMware needs on the menu.

If you agree, or disagree, let me know. Hopefully, VMware is listening and will make the iPhone View client an early 2012 gift.


VMware View client for the iPhone — 10 Comments

  1. You are completely right!!!
    As a consultant, I have more than one client considering Citrix instead of VMware for two reasons. One is the lack of an iphone client. The other… Profiles… I really hope they (vmware) reconsider this. We need to be able to run VMware view on every single platform available… It should be the client’s decision to chose the hardware. Wrong move VMware. Let’s learn from Netflix and stop assuming that we know whats better for our clients!!!

  2. Hi,

    I also want VMWare to release an iPhone Client. Who do i need to raise this with at VMWare? Lots of users here are asking for it.


    Charles Last.

  3. Mark it will help if you detail some of the things you expect you would do with such a client. For me remote-desktop type stuff is only for absolute emergencies (laptop on fire sort of things.) I find it hard to believe anyone would do anything serious using such a small form factor, clearly we have different perspectives, I thought it was strange they released a Kindle Fire client I think even that is too small. Is this something you would lean on in a pinch? What would you (or your clients) do with it? Cite examples. Progress can be made if enough people believe in them.

  4. I don’t disagree as the iphone client will not hurt. However I will be just a little reluctant to use a view client on my iPhone simply because I have fat fingers… I am not sure if my getting into my machine via my phone will enable me to fix things or only cause more frustrations..

    Now ones/if the iPhone gets some projector type integration where I can beam my phone to the wall perhaps a view client would not be a bad idea at all. However, my fingers will still be fat but I will at least have a bigger screen to look at. I don’t know I am a little iffy about the view client for iPhone.. perhaps thats sort of what VMware feels as well..

  5. There are two parts to my frustration. One, WYSE Pocket Cloud costs $20. I already own it, but I regularly speak to customers that want this functionality (even if they will not actually use, Citrix has it and they want VMware to have it too) and do not want to pay $20 for it. The second issue is that PocketCloud can only connect via RDP. I want to enable my desktop to leverage the new “Windows 7 3D Rendering” features, but that requires setting the pool to be PCoIP only…meaning I could no longer get in with PocketCloud in a pinch. Because I do occasionally use my iPhone to get in for quick tweaks and fixes, I am unable to use the 3D rendering.

    Would I use this often, no way. It is not well suited for accessing a Windows XP or 7 desktop. But when I do need it, when an admin does not want to drive an hour back to an office or to go home to perform a 2 minute fix, it is extremely valuable. Over 50% of mobile web browsing flows through iPhones, the footprint is only growing. When the competition touts access “anytime, anywhere”, answering with “anytime you can get to a PC or tablet” is not a good response. Most VDI deals I walk into are people trying to choose between Citrix and View, and access from an iPhone is the shiny feature everyone wants to try out in a POC or demo…even if they will likely never use it.

    In a way, it is like putting heated seats on a car in Texas. Did I look for it on the sticker for my car…yes. Mainly because every other car I looked at had them and I was comparison shopping. Do I use them? Maybe 5-6 times a year. Though not having them would not have changed my car decision, it would have left a real negative impression. And, 5-6 times a year, that negative impression would have been remembered and reinforced.

  6. Thanks for the feedback, Bilal. I agree, not a good platform. However, in those cases when you really need to apply a quick fix or get some information, and you are away from the office with only your cell phone…it can be a life saver. It has been for me on several occasions.

  7. Thanks for leaving a comment, Chas. Several of my friends from VMware have looked at this, I hope it will make it to someone that can influence VMware’s opinions on the matter.

    From your side, let your local account manager and systems engineer know. In fact, do that any time you have feedback or comments. It keeps them in the loop on what you are looking for and helps them better serve you. Every account manager I have worked with at VMware would welcome customer feedback and be glad to pass it on for you.

  8. Thanks for reinforcing my thoughts, Keilor, I was sure that I could not be alone in what I was seeing out in the marketplace.

  9. Mark,

    Interesting thoughts here! I personally have never been at a customer where the iPhone was a device that was intended to be used to connect into a Windows-based desktop.
    Is it a cool demo in a conference booth? Yes.
    Is it useful to some of the super-admins of the world? Yes.

    Other than that, it’s pure novelty.

    While some of your customers may be asking for the experience of using their iPhone to connect into a Windows-based desktop, I’d encourage you to let them have a go from an iPad. Once that realization sinks in, now ask them how they’d like to try that out on a device a fraction of the size.

    A few of my writings:
    “Tablet Users: Why Published Apps > Published Desktops for Most” http://thinkvirt.com/?q=node/287

    “Thirty Days Working Exclusively with the Apple iPad: A Business Traveler’s Perspective”

    I think when it comes to VDI a lot of customers are ultimately looking for guidance on what actually works in the real world; this is the job of the solution provider.

    If an org won’t sign off on VDI until you can show your iPhone connecting into a desktop, take a step back and discuss the merits of VDI and its appropriate use cases.


    – Jason

  10. Thanks for the feedback, Jason. I totally agree, few people would actually use it. However, it looks REALLY bad to not have the option. The phone is the one device people ALWAYS have with them, and the first device I am always asked about when clients are discussed. To now have it on the menu is a serious oversight. If you think few people will use it, then spend very little time on the features/functionality and release a more simple/plain client.

    I agree more will moved to published apps over time, but we are not there yet (I stress yet).

    One big bump in the road here is that the new 3D features in View 5 require disabling RDP. That forces me to chose between using the new features and never being able to access the pool from my iPhone (WYSE Pocketcloud is RDP only), or to leave the new features disabled because VMware implemented them with a requirement that the iPhone cannot meet without a PCoIP capable client.

    It is like a 2 iron. No one uses it, but who wants to buy a set of golf clubs without a 2 iron?