Apple and IBM Collaborate to Put IBM Apps in the Hands of iPad and iPhone Users

With mobile devices and applications moving forcefully into everyday enterprise business operations, two tech leaders, Apple and IBM, see new value in working together to bring the ubiquitous iPhones and iPads to market with IBM’s industry-specific enterprise solutions, while leveraging the emergence of cloud computing and new sources of big data.

The companies will collaborate to build IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions—“made-for-business apps” that address key industry issues or opportunities across retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance. The applications will become available starting this fall and into 2015.

Considered a landmark partnership by industry observers, the move is actually just one more step in a long line of innovative and sometimes surprising initiatives from IBM, the venerable IT powerhouse, whose extensive line of businesses range from mainframes to cloud software to ground-breaking partnerships in the open source space, including its commitment to Linux and the opening of the technology surrounding its Power Architecture offerings.

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 large-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.

Through a new partnership announced yesterday the tech giants say they hope to address key industry mobility challenges and initiate real mobile-led business change, leveraging four key capabilities:

  1. more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  2. IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  3. new AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise;  and  
  4. new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions will be built in an exclusive collaboration that draws on the distinct strengths of each company: IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, with the power of more than 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants and software developers behind it, fused with Apple’s legendary consumer experience,  hardware and software integration and developer platform. The combination will create apps that can transform specific aspects of how businesses and employees work using iPhone and iPad, allowing companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction—faster and easier than ever before.

As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide.

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98% of the Fortune 500 and over 92% of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a statement released by the company. “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.”

“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,” added Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO, in her statement on the partnership. “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.”

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