Apple's got another new partner to make business apps smarter: SAP.
The two companies on Thursday unveiled an agreement to tap into SAP's HANA system (which lets businesses quickly analyze data and make predictions) for new iPhone and iPad apps. The effort involves a new iOS software development kit and "training academy" designed to make it easier for developers to build iOS apps for their own businesses.
The partnership is similar to Apple's pact with IBM but lets businesses do more-complex tasks with their apps. For instance, a utility-company worker who's out in the field can use an app to predict when equipment may break down. That lets the worker perform maintenance and avoid a breakdown. Before, the worker would have had to go back to the office to get that real-time data. Now it can be accessed right on an Apple mobile device.
The partnership "will help deliver live data to people wherever and whenever they choose to work," SAP CEO Bill McDermott said in a press release. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted it "will transform how iPhone and iPad are used in enterprise by bringing together the innovation and security of iOS with SAP's deep expertise in business software."
The partnership follows other big agreements Apple has reached. The company is looking at business users as a big opportunity as it grapples with slowing device sales to consumers. Apple paired with IBM in mid-2014 to push Apple's products with business users and optimize IBM's cloud computing services, such as device management, security and analytics, for Apple's iOS mobile software. It also struck a deal with Cisco to create a "fast lane" for devices running on Apple's iOS software, namely iPhones and iPads, that would allow them to zip through Cisco's business environment.