In July, Apple Inc. and IBM signed a partnership to develop business-specific mobile apps as part of Cupertino's push into the enterprise world. The release of the iPhone 6 in September and the iPad Air 2 in October, both of which are designed to handle corporate operations better than any of their predecessors, set the stage for the first slate of these products, which appeared on the App Store on Wednesday morning.
There are 10 apps in all, each focusing on a particular industry: two each for airline travel, finance, government and retail and one each for insurance and telecommunications. The IBM MobileFirst for iOS line, as it is officially called, already has some high-profile users: Air Canada, Banorte, Citigroup and Sprint Corporation are among the early adopters. The aim is to eventually develop more than 100 apps.
The partnership goes beyond software development. IBM's cloud services are being optimized for iOS, and the tech giant will begin offering Apple bundling with its hardware sales to corporations. The AppleCare support platform will also include specialized service for IBM customers.
"This is a big step for iPhone and iPad in the enterprise, and we can't wait to see the exciting new ways organizations will put iOS devices to work," said Apple senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller in a statement. "The business world has gone mobile, and Apple and IBM are bringing together the world's best technology with the smartest data and analytics to help businesses redefine how work gets done."