Apple notes continued enterprise presence as Salesforce partnership goes up a gear

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Last September, Apple and Salesforce announced a strategic partnership to bring the latter onto native iOS as well as developing new mobile apps. As the cavalcade of Dreamforce news and speakers rolled on earlier this week, one of the more interesting sessions was a fireside chat between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff.

Cook told delegates that while the journey to the enterprise had been long, he was ‘proud’ of the progress. According to the Apple chief executive, every Fortune 500 company has an iOS presence, while eight in 10 enterprises are writing custom apps.

“It was evident that there was going to be this blending of personal and business in a way we’d never seen before,” said Cook. “Most of us don’t want to carry two phones. It’s behind the consumer revolution of apps, but I’m really proud of the trajectory.

“From a partnership point of view, I couldn’t be happier with working with Salesforce, we’ve had some terrific customer wins together,” Cook added.

One such customer was H-E-B, a retailer and a major name in Texas as the largest private employer in the state. The company uses apps to check the temperature of foods in transit among other use cases. “For too many still, mobile is about browsing and email and messaging – [they are] all important, but arguably the way you change the business is using mobile apps,” said Cook.

With this in mind, various updates to the partnership came about. Two flagship apps were announced; the Trailhead GO learning app – exclusive on iOS, Cook said – and the redesigned Salesforce Mobile App.

The Mobile App is focused on bringing the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), and in particular Einstein, with Siri shortcuts and Face ID exclusive features to iOS. Trailhead GO is built on Swift using Salesforce’s Mobile SDK and also supports Handoff, which allows first-party apps and third-party developers to send app data seamlessly between devices.

The news means that the Apple and Salesforce partnership is beginning to warm up. Regular readers of this publication will recall the Apple and IBM enterprise app deal, first struck in 2014 to great fanfare yet which left analysts somewhat cold. Naturally, the influence of mobile in the enterprise has increased significantly since then, but expect this one to be a more effective slow-burner.

“We just want to make the best products,” added Cook, “and we think if we can do that, we can have an okay business and invest into the next round of products.”

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