Enterprise IT users are seeing the first hints of what Apple and IBM might offer them through a new partnership, as a new "AppleCare for Enterprise" page appeared Wednesday on Apple's Web site. Announced in July, the joint Apple-IBM initiative focuses on mobile enterprise apps for the iPhone and iPad.
The service will provide enterprise customers with 24/7 phone support and priority on-site repair, according to the AppleCare page. Each customer will also get a designated account manager who will act as a liaison for AppleCare services and provide monthly activity reports on support calls and repairs.
The AppleCare service promises to replace -- within one business day "in most cases" -- up to 10 percent of an enterprise's covered iPads or iPhone if they are accidentally damaged by employees. No pricing details for the service are available on Apple's Web site. AppleCare for Enterprise will be available in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
'A Radical Step for Enterprise'
We reached out to IBM spokesman Edward Barbini to learn more about the AppleCare for Enterprise services, but Barbini said the company wasn't yet ready to release any details about the program. He added that he also could not yet provide any information about when the service would be officially rolled out.
When they announced their partnership, Apple and IBM said the goal was to bring "IBM's big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad."
"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," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time. The joint effort represented "a radical step for enterprise," he added.
According to the terms of the partnership agreement, IBM and Apple are working together to develop "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." The July announcement noted those apps -- eventually expected to number more than 100 -- would become available starting in the fall of 2014.
Focus on Mobility
In addition to the new industry-specific enterprise apps for Apple devices, IBM and Apple also plan to eventually roll out the AppleCare service, new IBM cloud services for iOS and new IBM offerings for device activation, supply and management. IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads with industry-specific apps to enterprise customers through its exclusive MobileFirst for iOS agreement with Apple.
"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," IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty said in July. "This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally."
Apple's newly posted legal details for AppleCare for Enterprise list "three distinct benefits to Apple's enterprise customers." These include the "high-end express service" for next-day hardware repair or replacement, a three-year warranty extension for original hardware purchases and a pool of Apple-owned devices from which to request replacements. AppleCare customers also have the option of on-site service coverage for either two or three years from the dates of hardware purchases.