Apple has long maintained a stronghold in specialized business disciplines, particularly those focused on design. However, the tech giant has largely struggled to take a larger market share of the general business IT world, a trend that is changing quickly.
To some degree, this shift can be attributed to something as simple as the iPhone. With more consumers becoming comfortable in Apple's ecosystem, people may be looking to continue using the brand's products in the enterprise. There could also be more going on as Apple uses the initial momentum of the iPhone to deepen its penetration into the enterprise space through strategic partnerships.
Looking at Apple's recent rise
When considering how most businesses adopt technology, it is important to understand the large role that channel partners play. Most companies aren't going to go directly to a manufacturer or retail outlet to buy devices. They'll work with a dedicated sales specialist who can help them find the best cost-to-performance ratio, offer ongoing support and even consulting along the way.
"Apple has begun to understand that it needs channel partners to improve sales."
As Apple has secured more IT industry partnerships in recent years, it has strengthened its role in the channel and made its solutions more attractive to enterprise buyers, Computerworld explained. Pointing to the findings of a Canalys study, the report said that Apple has begun to understand that it needs channel partners to improve sales and distribution in the enterprise segment. There's still room for improvement, but by working with major tech brands, Apple has opened up new opportunities.
According to Computerworld, these partnership efforts are combining with Apple at Work and onboarding programs to further enhance enterprise buying experiences.
While some of Apple's partnerships have focused on making its technology more accessible to businesses, others have laid out strong use cases for Mac and iOS devices. This is evident in a recent partnership announcement with IBM.
Apple and IBM coming together on AI
Artificial intelligence is emerging as a major hot-button topic in business settings. Organizations are using AI for everything from bots that can provide customer service to real-time data analytics solutions that automatically make simple decisions. A PricewaterhouseCoopers study identified upwards of 300 use cases for AI and projected that the technology will contribute approximately $15.7 trillion of value to the global economy by 2030.
Companies can't afford to ignore AI, and the partnership between Apple and IBM could end up making the technology extremely accessible. IBM has been among the early leaders in creating real-world AI use cases through its Watson supercomputing platform. The supercomputer powers a variety of projects through cloud-based access to AI capabilities, and the new partnership will allow Watson to be used alongside the Apple Core ML system to bring AI to the Apple ecosystem, ZDNet reported.
At this stage, there is one ready-built solution for use in the new platform, the news source explained. It uses the Visual Recognition Service of Watson to export analysis of thousands of images to Core ML. As a result, users can have the application create a model based on the visual analysis directly within an iOS app. Brian Croll, Apple's vice president of operating system product marketing, explained how the partnership fits within Apple's vision for its technology in business settings.
"With IBM our goal has been to help enterprises reimagine the way they work," Croll told ZDNet. "Core ML makes it easy for developers to bring machine learning to their apps without being an expert. Core ML runs models locally, is super fast, and protects privacy because sensitive information is kept on the device. We believe the combination of Core ML and Watson Services will inspire the next generation of intelligent enterprise apps."
Beyond the visual analysis offered with the current version of this new solution, the Apple and IBM partnership is also bearing fruit in the form of a new software development kit that enables organizations to create their own solutions using the technology.
Preparing for a new enterprise computing reality
Apple's recent efforts to gain market share in the business IT world highlights just how much technology is changing. With the lines between desktop and mobile computing blurring, businesses must prepare their IT teams and users for more fluid operational climates.
MC Services can help companies along this journey. Here's how:
With such a diverse set of solutions in place, MC Services can be a one-stop vendor for companies working to implement new Apple devices and get related initiatives off the ground smoothly. Contact us today if you'd like to learn more.