Apple Business Essentials: Small business program to manage iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Apple:

Apple today announced Apple Business Essentials, an all-new service that brings together device management, 24/7 Apple Support, and iCloud storage into flexible subscription plans for small businesses with up to 500 employees. The company also unveiled a new Apple Business Essentials app that enables employees to install apps for work and request support.

On configuring users:

Within Apple Business Essentials, Collections enable IT personnel to configure settings and apps for individual users, groups, or devices. When employees sign in to their corporate or personally owned device with their work credentials, Collections automatically push settings such as VPN configurations and Wi-Fi passwords. In addition, Collections will install the new Apple Business Essentials app on each employee’s home screen, where they can download corporate apps assigned to them, such as Cisco Webex or Microsoft Word.

You can also enforce File Vault encryption on employee Macs, and enforced Activation Lock for all devices.

There’s a dedicated iCloud account with automated backup for iOS and iPadOS devices, as well as for all data/documents stored in iCloud. Not clear to me how that backup is managed for Macs, beyond documents the user stores in iCloud.

Core to the setup is Collections, which let the admin set up app collections for, say, design, engineering, sales, and all employees.

Create a smart user group based on rules like location, role, or team. Then assign Collections to that group to set up their devices. And when you import users from Microsoft Azure Active Directory, they automatically receive their apps and settings when they’re added to the group.

On users being able to use their personal devices:

User Enrollment makes it easy for employees to enroll their personal devices — and get them set up for work. Personal data on their devices stays private, and everything stays secure.

There’s also onsite repairs (“in as little as 4 hours”):

Each plan with AppleCare+ for Business Essentials includes up to two repairs that refresh annually, but they’re not tied to any one device or user. You can apply them to any device enrolled in an AppleCare+ for Business Essentials plan.

Pricing tiers:

  • Single Device: $2.99/month, 50GB storage
  • Multi-device: $6.99/month per user, Up to 3 devices/user, 200GB of storage.
  • Multi-device, more storage: $12.99/month per user, Up to 3 devices/user, 2TB of storage.

Free beta, sign up here, program rolling out this Spring.

Here’s the Apple Business Essentials marketing video from Apple…