Apple has today unveiled a new device management solution for small business, designed to help companies setup, maintain and oversee their employees' devices.
Apple Business Essentials is starting off as a pilot program that combines device management, storage and support in one bundle.
While the plan will carry a subscription cost, Apple is currently offering the beta for free to small businesses in the US with 500 employees or fewer.
What Apple Business Essentials is Offering
The service from Apple, aimed at small businesses with 500 employees or fewer, is designed to be an all-in-one plan for covering business devices, provided that they are Apple ones, naturally.
The plan will cover Mac devices, iPhones and iPads, from set up to repair, and everything in-between. According to Apple, users can expect:
Setup – Apple claims that its service will begin as soon as you unpack your Apple device, with a simple set up process for IT departments that will allow the right apps and settings to automatically be assigned to employees.
Onboarding – Included with the set up process is an onboarding tool that will allow users to add extra apps they need, as well as enrol any personal devices they may wish to use.
Storage – Storage with iCloud is also included with Business Essentials, anywhere from 50GB to 2TB, depending on the tier users go with. On iPad and iPhone, work backups will be automatic.
Security – Security options are included at every tier, and can be controlled by IT staff to ensure that users don't change vital settings by mistake. Lost Mode can also be enabled to locate lost devices, or wipe them remotely if needed.
AppleCare Support – For some tiers, users will receive 24/7 Apple Care support, with onsite repairs available within as little as 4 hours, according to Apple.
Replacing Old Hardware – When it comes time to update to a newer model, employees will be able to sign into their iCloud and access all settings apps and work data. Older devices can be remotely wiped once the user has moved to the new device.
How Much Does Apple Business Essentials Cost?
Right now, the Business Essentials plan is being rolled out as a beta, and Apple is offering this for free, presumably with the caveat that your company will also act as a guinea pig whilst it tests the service.
However, when it launches officially in spring 2022, there will be three pricing tiers for users:
- Single device – $2.99 per device per month. This also includes 50GB of storage on iCloud.
- Multidevice – $6.99 per user per month. This plan allows up to three devices for each user, with 200GB of storage.
- Multidevice, more storage – $12.99 per user per month. This plan again is for up to three devices, but includes 2TB of storage.
It appears that more plans will be coming at launch too, with Apple stating that plans including AppleCare + will be available in spring 2022.
If you want to get in on the ground floor and enrol in the beta, you can sign up via the Apple Business Essentials site.