Apple and IBM Will Make It Easier For Your iPhone to Be Your Work Phone

Apple and IBM have just announced an unprecedented partnership to bring the iPhone to enterprise customers. In other words, you're actually going to be able to use your iPhone for work.

The surprising partnership comes after years of tense relations between the two companies, but now, the two will be working together to "help companies deploy wireless devices and business-specific applications to run on them," applications which have long been scarce in the iOS ecosystem.

In an announcement today, Apple explained the pairing with its former rival as a complementing of skill sets:

The new [apps] will be built in an exclusive collaboration that draws on the distinct strengths of each company: IBM's big data and analytics capabilities, with the power of more than 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants and software developers behind it, fused with Apple's legendary consumer experience, hardware and software integration and developer platform.

A description that, as the Wall Street Journal points out, would have seemed preposterous 30 years ago, when Apple's iconic 1984 commercial portrayed IBM is an imposing, fearsome Big Brother.

Apple will be leaning heavily on IBM's long history of enterprise expertise, something which, until now, Apple has conspicuously lacked. Through the deal, Apple will have access to "IBM's computing services such as security, device management and big-data analytics.... IBM's employees will provide on-site support and service of Apple products inside companies." In exchange, many of the new applications will be powered by IBM's own cloud network.

The end result of all this teamwork? Over 100 new apps making up MobileFirst for iOS and tailored to "various industries," the first set coming out next fall, just in time for iOS 8. [Apple, Wall Street Journal]