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Apple purposefully avoids enterprise at WWDC

Matt Kapko | June 21, 2016
Enterprise definitely was not the star of Apple's show at WWDC last week. The company barely mentioned business users or developers during the opening keynote, but it did introduce several improvements that should have far-reaching implications for enterprise coders and IT.

Apple says it takes the enterprise more seriously today than ever before, and it has backed that claim with the release of a number of new business solutions during the past years. However, Apple's enterprise efforts were barely noticeable at the company's annual developer conference last week. 

Apple did not completely ignore the enterprise at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), but it also didn't make any significant business-focused announcements. The company mentioned enterprise only once, in passing, during its two-hour opening keynote, but some of the APIs in the upcoming iOS 10 software, discussed in technical sessions later during the conference, will enable new capabilities for many user types, including IT professionals. For example, the iOS 10 software development kit lets businesses build apps that integrate with iMessage, Siri and Maps. And enhancements to iCloud, Touch ID and a new common file system that syncs across iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, called Apple File System, should also enable developers to build better business apps.

Apple's enterprise pacts slowly (but surely) pay off

Apple's partnership with Cisco, announced last August, will bear some new fruit in iOS 10. Cisco's Spark collaboration app will tap into Apple's new mobile OS to integrate with native iOS calling features, so calls placed via the app will look and feel like calls made using Apple's native phone app. Cisco customers will be able to make and receive calls on iOS devices over corporate networks, and IT managers can give Cisco apps network priority over other non-critical apps to ensure the best possible user experience.

Apple also made notable progress in the enterprise market since it inked an alliance with IBM almost two years, and it followed up with deals with Cisco and SAP. The company has been busy, but it could do more to highlight its strengths to businesses, according to Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "I believe Apple could have mentioned enterprise more than it did [during WWDC] if it wanted to reiterate its enterprise aspirations," he says.

Apple's enterprise efforts stay behind the scenes at WWDC

Travis Fischer, director of engineering at ChaiOne, an enterprise design firm and member of Apple's mobility partners program, attended WWDC, and he says he wasn't surprised when enterprise was mostly overlooked during the keynote. The WWDC keynote is "less about sharing new and exciting things for the developers and more about sharing news with the rest of the consumer world about the next versions of Apple's various [platforms]," Fischer says. "This is the first shot of Apple's sales pitch for new phones in the fall." 


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