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How Apple is taking on business and enterprise, and what the IBM deal reveals about Apple's enterprise plans

Doug Drinkwater | April 7, 2015
Apple and IBM are to develop business-grade iOS apps.

IBM will also have a key role in data and transaction security, and business analytics. Mobile management from a managed services provider may be the way forward for a lot of companies.

Apple enterprise apps
Every app store is dominated by consumer titles, especially games as making the next Flappy Birds has always been cooler and more lucrative than, say, the next Salesforce.

Yet app development companies have increasingly been building custom iOS apps for business, and this latest deal raises the stakes given the size and resources of the companies involved, and the level of support they will provide.

These are not ported Windows or reworked web apps - they are mobile-first, optimised for iOS8, and will integrate with any environment. And with Apple's continued work with developers on the Swift programming language, as well as HealthKit and CarPlay, expect more enterprise innovation going forward.

Demand for a 12in iPad
Apple is reportedly working on a larger 12.9-inch 'iPad Pro' and that's perhaps unsurprising given the iPad's sales slump and the relative success of Microsoft's Surface tablets.

A larger iPad would go even further than the latest iPad in replacing laptops in enterprise, with business executives likely to be attracted by the extra screen estate.

There is, however, one potential problem on the horizon; Apple has apparently delayed production of the 12.9-inch LCD panels, seeking input from partners on how it can be made more attractive to businesses.

There has been talk of easier tools for deploying apps and user profiles and, most interestingly, rumours of a USB 3.0 port, which would be a huge change.

iPad adoption in the enterprise
Apple has realised that enterprise is where the money is, from mobile applications and business support through to the more obvious iPad and iPhone deluge.

The firm knew that already but perhaps has seen the scope for future growth. IDC figures indicate only 20% of businesses have adopted the iPad, compared to 60% of Macs while an ESG survey reveals 30 percent of enterprises now intend to accelerate their use of iOS as a result of partnership.

"Apple entered the deal to be able to talk to enterprises in a language they understand without having to change who Apple is at core: a consumer company," Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar, told Macworld. "With IBM they gain channel presence, back end support and apps support all that is needed to move iPads and iPhones from BYOD to enterprise liable."

"For Apple, this deal marks their renewed attempt to get a better hold of the enterprise market. It's well known that Apple has never been successful in this, and whether it was because of ignoring enterprise needs or simply because of inability to develop the necessary services in-house, can be debated," wrote Alexei Balaganski, senior analyst at Kuppinger Cole, last year.


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