On Tuesday Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced that it will be joining technology and consulting giant, IBM, in an effort to "transform enterprise mobility." In other words, their goal is to improve and expand upon industry specific iOS applications to help companies "achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction—faster and easier than ever before." The partnership combines Apple's consumer experience, hardware and software development expertise and developer platform with IBM's big data and analytics capabilities, as well as its huge number of technology consultants and software engineers.
The enterprise will be known as "IBM MobileFirst for iOS" and, as part of the agreement, IBM will begin to sell iPads and iPhones with industry specific solutions. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, "iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today... For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity
for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”
IBM Chairman, President and CEO, Ginni Rometty, expressed similar sentiments: "Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions... This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”The two companies believe in four specific capabilities that will facilitate a major change in the way business is done:
- The companies will collaborate to build IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions—a new class of “made-for-business apps” targeting specific industry issues or opportunities in retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others, that will become available starting this fall and into 2015. This will include more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad.
- The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on Bluemix—IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace, which will be optimized for iOS.
- Mobile service and support: AppleCare for Enterprise will provide IT departments and end users with 24/7 assistance from Apple’s award-winning customer support group, with on-site service delivered by IBM.
- Packaged service offerings: IBM is introducing IBM MobileFirst Supply and Management for device supply, activation and management services for iPhone and iPad, with leasing options.
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IBM MobileFirst for iOS will initially launch sometime this fall, with additional services rolling out into 2015.