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Apple finally makes a play for Mac-based small businesses

Apple is now targeting small businesses with a new subscription following the company’s success with its Apple One service for individuals and families. Like Apple One, the new Apple Business Essentials subscription includes iCloud storage, but the business-oriented offering swaps out consumer services — like Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+, and Apple News+ — for device management and onboarding services. as well as access to Apple Support.

Apple’s Business Essentials plan covers all Apple hardware, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and it includes setup, onboarding, backup, security, repairs, and updates. Apple is positioning its Business Essentials service as an IT service for small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

Mac Business Essentials on a MacBook Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Cupertino, California, maker of the Mac and iPhone is targeting Apple Business Essentials for small and medium businesses with up to 500 employees. The service launches today in the United States and will be available to SMBs for free while it is still in beta. When it exits beta in spring 2022, pricing will range from $3 per seat per month to $13 per seat per month. The pricing range takes into account the number of devices a user has as well as the amount of iCloud storage for the plan. Up to 2TB of iCloud storage is available on the highest-tier plan.

With its mobile device management service, Apple Business Essentials has a section called Collections within the app that employees can use to download apps that are required for their workflow, including Microsoft Office, Cisco Webex, and more.

“When employees sign in to their corporate or personally owned device with their work credentials, Collections automatically pushes settings such as VPN configurations and Wi-Fi passwords,” Apple detailed of its new service. “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.”

If an employee leaves, the Business Essentials service also makes it easy for SMB owners to reassign old devices to new users or issue new devices to new users.

Business Essentials is notable in that it will bring a more managed IT experience that employees at larger corporations have relied upon to the world of small businesses. In addition to device management and hardware support, Apple will also allow small businesses to bundle its AppleCare+ optional extended warranty services to Business Essentials starting in the spring. Employees will have access to two device repairs per year on their plan, and the repairs can be initiated directly within the Apple Business Essentials app. Apple will also offer on-site repair services in addition to mail-in repairs with its small business offering, and technicians can arrive on site in as little as four hours.

Apple has been making an aggressive push into its services business, which includes Apple Music. In its most recent earnings report, the company announced that its net sales from the services business grew by more than 27% year-over-year for the fiscal year ended September 25, 2021. Apple reported that its services businesses generated $68.4 billion, compared to $297.4 billion for products.

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