Apple has always encouraged the use of Apple devices at work, often pitching Macs and iPads as powerful productivity machines, but the company hasn’t really directed a lot of software and services specifically at the corporate interests. That’s changing with the new Apple Business Essentials service.
Currently in beta with a full launch in the spring of 2022, Apple Business Essentials combines device management, iCloud storage, employee onboarding, and service/support into a single monthly subscription package. It’s aimed as business with up to 500 employees, and features a simplified set of three price tiers:
- Single device: $2.99/mo (per user), supports one device and provides 50GB of iCloud storage.
- Multidevice: $6.99/mo (per user), supports up to three devices and provides 200GB of iCloud storage.
- Multidevice, more storage: $12.99/mo (per user), supports up to three devices and provides 2TB of iCloud storage.
When the service exits beta in the spring of 2022, businesses will be able to add AppleCare+ to their plans and get prioritized Apple Support, training for IT and employees, and up to two device repairs per plan per year. Google and Microsoft offer similar storage and support for small business with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Office 365, respectively.
The service lets IT departments easily manage systems with new managed Apple IDs that are separate from their personal Apple IDs. When users add those to devices, it can push things like Wi-Fi and VPN settings, enforce important security settings like FileVault, and connects to that user’s Business Essentials iCloud storage space.
The service also installs a new Business Essentials app where the user can download business software that is assigned to them and can request support. If a user logs in to their managed Apple ID on a personal device, it uses different cryptographic keys for work data, to keep it separate from personal data.