The 5 most important Apple business services of the decade

Technological progress increased in the course of 2010 and Apple professionals were no stranger to business innovations; these five Apple services stand out.

Image: iStock / Christian Mueller

The 2010 introduced a variety of computer and network innovations. From the revolutionary new Apple iPad tablet platform to network technologies such as cloud computing, internet elements that emerged in the last decade have only gained more control over the past 10 years and have matured. Although Apple introduced numerous new, enterprise-focused services, five deserve special attention. Here is an overview of the five most important business Apple services introduced in the last 10 years.

SEE: Top 10 IT trends of the past 20 years (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Volume purchasing program for companies

Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) was introduced to iOS users in 2010 and updated over time with Macs in 2013 and other countries in 2014 and 2016. It offers companies discounted rates for apps and iBooks. The platform can also be integrated with mobile device management (MDM) services, allowing IT departments to centralize the management and distribution of apps and titles within their organizations.

Apple’s VPP simplifies licenses and application tracking. Instead of maintaining multiple accounts and compensating employees for authorized software purchases, the applications can be managed from a corporate account. Because redemption URLs are provided in the VPP console, administrators can email links to users for installation of the application – including for custom programs – or push installation via an MDM platform or Apple Configurator. Such functionality saves time, adds efficiency and simplifies control – all profits for everyone from small businesses to business organizations.

2. Apple Business Manager

Apple Business Manager, introduced in the summer of 2018, is an upgrade of the VPP for companies that helps technology administrators make better use of MDM platforms to implement iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs in an organization. Device settings, federated Microsoft Azure Active Directory authentication, VPP investments and apps, and book title management can all be configured, monitored, and maintained using the Apple Business Manager platform.

Trying to manage applications, titles, device settings, program licenses and federated Active Directory logins individually quickly becomes a nightmare for even small businesses. By integrating Apple Business Manager with an MDM solution, companies can spend less time tracking down one-off issues and issues for centralized management and management of apps, users, and resources.

SEE: More decade in reporting (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

3. iCloud

Once a personal and lightweight internet service option, MobileMe changed from a data synchronization and internet storage solution into a fully-fledged cloud-based service package that could support business activities when the service was upgraded to iCloud in October 2011. The cloud service has been replaced MobileMe data synchronization for e-mail, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, reminders, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, videos, application files, backups, device configurations and more.

The iCloud engine has not remained silent. The technology has evolved and now enables graceful integration of Apple TV devices into meeting rooms, supports file sharing and team collaboration, and helps ensure that important data is automatically stored off-site.

SEE: Decade in technology: what stood out or fell flat in the 2010s (ZDNet)

4. Apple Push Notification Service

Services can be of both the business-to-business (B2B) intangible product and software type, and sometimes a software variety operating system service offers business benefits. That is the case with the Apple Push Notification service (APNs), introduced for Macs with Mac OS X Lion in July 2011.

The APN service supports external notification functions for iPhone, iPad and Mac users. According to Apple, the technology works by “creating an accredited, encrypted and persistent IT connection between your app and APNs.” Because APNs send notification information directly to these devices and integrate with MDM solutions, the notifications can be used to manage user interaction. For companies, this means that organizations can manage systems centrally. APNs allow authorized administrators to improve endpoint security, monitor compliance, delete missing or stolen iPhones, iPads and Macs, reactivate such equipment, update software programs, and receive automated asset inventory updates.

SEE: Decade in Review 2010 – 2019 (CNET)

5. Apple Music for Business

A potentially surprising element that appears in the top five is brand new: Apple Music for Business. Working in collaboration with PlayNetwork Inc. – which, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal of November 2019, manages commercial licenses, custom playlists and operational responsibilities – Apple Music for Business is essentially iTunes for commercial companies. Allegedly around 25 different companies use the new service that was introduced in November 2019. When the services of these first customers have been fully implemented, the Wall Street Journal article estimated that the 25 accounts will deliver music to more than 10,000 stores.

That is quite a footprint. Particularly intriguing is the fact that Apple rarely cooperates with other companies; the company usually insists that it has full control over its initiatives. The Apple Music for Business partnership demonstrates Apple’s willingness to explore the potential of the service, with the aim of likely promoting consumer services within those companies using the new commercial music service. But companies also benefit from the ability to receive and offer new material, eclectic playlists and background music with a proper license without the hassle of another supplier and additional legal and licensing requirements. With an easy-to-use interface, the ability to specify playlists by location and a variety of playlist scheduling options, Apple Music for Business is yet another way that Apple eliminates headaches for entrepreneurs.

What are your choices for Apple’s 5 most important business services? Do you agree or disagree with this top five list? Post your own Apple top-five list of business services in the comments below.

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