BlackBerry and Samsung join forces: will it impact Apple?

As anyone who has paid attention to Apple has likely noticed, the company usually responds to competitor innovations by creating something even better. Future iterations of the iPhone and iPad will likely include some form of work-personal separation, especially if Apple users lose access to Divide.

Currently, Apple is planning to reach out to business users through its upcoming smartwatch, which is expected to be especially appealing to busy professionals. At a glance, employees can see new emails or texts, allowing them to stay in touch with employees and colleagues throughout the day. Enterprise technology companies like Salesforce, which recently announced applications for the Apple Watch, have begun to partner with Apple to begin this process.

Building a better iPad

Apple is currently facing another problem. With so many competing devices, the company has seen a tremendous drop in iPad sales, attributed in part to the release of a larger iPhone last fall. Currently, the company is putting its hopes on the supersized iPad, which will have a screen sized at 12.9 inches. Since the iPad appeals to business users, the company is hoping a larger iPad will rejuvenate its enterprise tablet sales.

To better its chances of success, Apple initiated a partnership with IBM to develop software specifically geared to business users. In December, the companies reportedly released an impressive group of apps that impressed insiders. The new apps include:

  • Flight planning for airlines
  • Client analytics for financial advisors
  • Analytics for insurance agents
  • Workload planning for case advisors
  • Crime prevention for law enforcement
  • Sales assistance for retailers
  • Inventory management and order fulfillment for retailers
  • Tech support software through FaceTime for IT providers

Through these early offerings, it's clear Apple is reaching out to enterprises at the end-user level, replacing pen-and-paper processes with iPads. These front-end solutions only highlight the increasing need for a way for businesses to better control their employee-issued devices, and it's a problem Samsung and BlackBerry appear willing to address.

Joining in

Instead of battling Samsung and BlackBerry, Apple may choose to simply direct enterprise administrators toward BES12, since the technology is available to iOS users.

The BES12 Client for iOS is available at no cost in the iTunes store. Once installed, it integrates with either BES10 or BES12, which has a per-device subscription cost.

Once installed, administrators will have access to advanced BlackBerry features. Using WorkLife by BlackBerry, administrators can add a corporate number to an iOS device, separating the phone just as it would separate it when built into an Android. Advanced security features are also available for iOS, including the ability to set aside a workspace on a device without impacting personal features on the phone.

As the battle for the enterprise market wages, businesses will likely see an increasing number of apps and options that make managing devices easier. If the Samsung-BlackBerry partnership pushes Apple to work a little harder to develop better enterprise products, organizations will benefit. Employees will benefit, as well, since they'll no longer be required to carry personal and business smartphones with them as they move from work to home and back again.