Apple (NASDAQ: APPL) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced an exclusive deal that will introduce new business apps to the iPhone and iPad. The enterprise-specific apps for Apple's iOS will be aimed at increasing companies' mobility and will likely be a big boon for retailers.
The two companies intend to redefine the way work gets done and set the bar for mobile business solutions. Tools will include security, analytics and device management, all highly desired by retailers desperately seeking to deploy mobile devices throughout their organizations from customer-facing apps and optimized sites to in-store POS and inventory management and data analytics.
"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," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "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."
Cook isn't exaggerating, this is a meaningful partnership with big implications for retailers. The ease of Apple's iOS combined with IBM's data and analytics capabilities should help simplify big data for merchants.
Specifically, the partnership aims to address key industry mobility challenges with more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad; unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration; a new AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of each enterprise; and new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.
"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," said Ginni Rometty, IBM president and CEO. "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," she said. "Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform."
*A version of this story originally appeared in FierceRetailIT's sister publication FierceRetail
-See this Apple press release
-See this Wall Street Journal article
Apple readies for mobile mass market push
Apple advances mobile payments with Touch ID
Apple to debut smart home platform based on iBeacon
New Amazon Fire takes aim at Apple
Amazon could soon launch local services