Apple forged another alliance this week to help cement its place as a leader in enterprise mobility.
The Cupertino, Calif. device maker and German software giant SAP announced on May 5 that they are working together to create an iOS software development kit (SDK) to speed the development of native apps that can tap the SAP's cloud-based in-memory processing platform. Dubbed the new SAP HANA Cloud Platform SDK, it will be made exclusively available to iOS when it ships later this year.
The move comes after Apple posted disappointing second quarter financial results. Sales of the iPhone dropped 18 percent year-over-year to 51.2 million units. iPad sales dropped to 10.2 million devices from 12.6 million a year ago.
For Apple, allying with SAP opens up a major business application ecosystem for the iPhone and iPad. According to SAP's estimates, approximately 310,000 organizations use the company's software and services.
"As the leader in enterprise software and with 76 percent of business transactions touching an SAP system, SAP is the ideal partner to help us truly transform how businesses around the world are run on iPhone and iPad," said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in a statement. "Through the new SDK, we're empowering SAP's more than 2.5 million developers to build powerful native apps that fully leverage SAP HANA Cloud Platform and tap into the incredible capabilities that only iOS devices can deliver."
For those developers, a new SAP Fiori for iOS user experience blends enterprise-grade functionality with the consumer-like ease-of-use that iOS apps are known for. Tools, training and other resources will be available via a new SAP Academy for iOS. SAP also pledged to develop its own iOS apps as part of the alliance.
"In giving people an agile and intuitive business experience, we empower them to know more, care more and do more," remarked Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, in the joint announcement. "By combining the powerful capabilities of SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP S/4HANA, together with iOS, the leading and most secure mobile platform for enterprise, we will help deliver live data to people wherever and whenever they choose to work."
It's not the first time Apple buddied up to another tech titan to help make the iPhone and iPad synonymous with enterprise mobility.
In 2014, Apple and IBM inked a deal to bring over 100 of IBM's business applications to iOS. As part of the partnership, the companies would offer an enterprise-centric AppleCare service offering and IBM would sell and lease Apple devices.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.