Apple and IBM are starting to deliver on their "landmark partnership" to transform business use of iPads and iPhones today. After a deal earlier this year, the first apps designed by the two companies will start being used by Citi, Air Canada, Sprint, and Banorte this week. The first round of 10 apps include a mixture of applications aimed at financial institutions, insurance businesses, and even government agencies.
IBM’s Incident Aware app for iOS is designed to turn an iPhone into a crime prevention aid for law enforcement officers. Incident Aware includes real-time access to maps and video-feeds of incidents, and the ability for officers to call for back-up or support. There are also two airline-focused apps debuting today that help pilots to be more fuel efficient, and allow crew members to offer baggage information, re-booking services, and special offers to customers onboard flights. Other apps include sales systems for retailers, and a tech expert help app to assist customers through FaceTime.
While the apps are clearly focused on specific industries, they’re just the beginning of Apple’s battle for enterprise acceptance. "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," says Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "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."
The Wall Street Journal reports that IBM is largely handling the coding of the apps, alongside its cloud services. Apple employees provide input on the design and ease of use of the apps, according to Bridget van Kralingen, IBM’s senior vice president of global business services. IBM is also planning to sell iOS devices to corporate clients that come preloaded with these new apps. More will debut in 2015, as both Apple and IBM look to move the iPad and iPhone into the business of retail, healthcare, banking, travel, telecommunications, and insurance industries.