Salesforce and Apple have announced a partnership “that brings together the number one customer relationship management platform and iOS.” The biggest direct result of the collaboration will be a redesigned, native Salesforce app for iOS coming in early 2019. Salesforce is working with Apple to implement features like Face ID, Business Chat, and the new-in-iOS-12 Siri Shortcuts.
Siri definitely seems to be a large focus of this — at least on Apple’s side. “If you look at enterprise in general, voice has not been used as much as in consumer,” Tim Cook told Reuters in an interview. “We’re going to be able to provide the sales rep instant access to things using your voice instead of clicks and going through different apps. We’re changing the way people work, and that’s always been at the heart of what Apple is about — changing things for the better.”
The two companies will also work together on a Salesforce Mobile SDK that’s optimized for Apple’s Swift coding language. With an SDK, developers will be able to build iOS apps that use the Salesforce Lightning Platform as a cloud backend; around 5 million developers are using the Lightning Platform today, according to Reuters, versus the 20 million making apps for Apple devices. The SDK will launch “by the end of 2018.”
Still, those are valuable developers to appeal to, and the enterprise segment is one that Apple has pursued aggressively. It announced a “landmark partnership” with IBM in 2014 and followed that up with deals involving Cisco, SAP, and others. Salesforce will also bring Trailhead, its portal for learning Salesforce skills, to iOS as a mobile app by the end of this year, and it has already introduced courses on building iOS applications using Swift.
The companies will preview their collaboration at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week.