Big Data

Apple and SAP announce new partnership to bring big data apps to iOS

Apple recently partnered up with SAP to bring a new SAP HANA Cloud Platform SDK exclusively to iOS, along with a training academy for building enterprise apps.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and SAP CEO Bill McDermott met at Apple's campus to announce the partnership.
Image: Apple/Roy Zipstein

On Thursday, Apple and SAP announced a new partnership to provide an SAP HANA Cloud Platform SDK exclusively for iOS so that developers can more easily build out native iOS apps based on SAP HANA.

The partnership will also bring with it a training academy to help developers build apps specific to the direct needs of their organizations. According to a press release announcing the partnership, the native iOS apps will be able to use the business processes SAP S/4HANA is known for, while also utilizing iOS features like TouchID, location services, and notifications.

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SAP's UX, SAP Fiori, will get an update to make it iOS-ready and it, along with the new SDK and training academy will be live by the end of 2016.

Apps will be built using Apple's Swift, along with the SAP Fiori for iOS design language. According to the press release, another part of the deal is that "SAP will develop native iOS apps for critical business operations."

While it is unclear exactly what these apps will accomplish, there is reason to believe that big data analytics will be a big part of what SAP produces for Apple. In addition to references to "enterprise data" throughout the release, SAP CEO Bill McDermott is quoted as saying "...we will help deliver live data to people wherever and whenever they choose to work."

The value for SAP is that it gets its tools in front of more business users, and that it can hopefully update its legacy image by aligning itself with a company that is known for cutting edge design and a modern approach.

For Apple, this partnership is an opportunity to capture the enterprise market with the types of business tools that are becoming an increasingly important part of the mobile workforce.

Apple has long since been lauded by customers and analysts alike as the most secure option in mobile. As such, it attracted quite an enterprise following and, as Gartner said in late 2015, became "the most-used mobile OS in enterprises today in mature markets."

However, for the first time in more than a decade, iPhone sales declined in Q2 2016, and Apple felt the first sting of mortality since it introduced the original iPhone. Now, more than ever, the enterprise matters to Apple as a way of reclaiming lost sales and maintaining its lead as the king of mobility.

In 2014, Apple forged a partnership with IBM for similar reasons and last year, it released the iPad Pro targeting power users and creatives. Still, it's clear that Apple needs to continue to deepen its enterprise focus if it wants to stay at the top of the heap.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Apple and SAP launched a new partnership to release an SAP HANA Cloud Platform SDK specifically for iOS, along with a training academy for building SAP-powered iOS apps.
  2. The SAP Fiori US language is also getting an update to work more readily with Apple and its Swift language.
  3. The partnership will be a key tool for Apple to win more fans in the enterprise, a customer base that may prove critical to Apple's future endeavors.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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