5 Things to Know About the Apple-IBM Partnership

 

This week, Apple and IBM announced a global partnership to develop a new set of business-facing mobile apps powered by IBM's big data capabilities.

"iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a news release. "For the first time ever we're putting IBM's renowned big data analytics at iOS users' fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver."

Here are five things to know about the new partnership.

1. The partnership will focus on building apps specifically for the healthcare industry, as well as apps for the banking, travel, transportation, telecommunications and other industries. For example, one of the apps aimed at the airline industry will use data analytics to help determine how much fuel each flight will require, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The new line of apps, branded as IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions, is designed to help employers respond to employees' desire to have better work-related mobile apps.

2. The official announcement emphasizes the partnership is 'exclusive,' suggesting neither Apple nor IBM will enter into a similar arrangement with another company. An IBM spokesperson, when asked how exclusive the partnership would be, told PC World: "We are saying these [apps and services] will be specifically for the iPhone and iPad…They are the best mobile devices in the world, from our view."

3. Both companies have recently signaled intents to expand their presence in healthcare. Apple recently announced HealthKit, a consumer-facing mobile platform that aggregates data from other apps (and possibly electronic health records) and aims to offer a comprehensive, simplified view of a user's health. IBM has partnered with several healthcare providers to use Watson's natural-language processing capabilities to improve care delivery, and has offered some healthcare app developers access to Watson's application programming interface.

4. The partnership and new healthcare apps could reinforce Apple's dominance among healthcare professionals. Sixty-eight percent of providers and practices currently use iPhones for professional purposes, according to a user poll by Black Book Rankings. Less than a third of respondents said they used another kind of smartphone, including Android or Windows phones.

5. Both Apple and IBM already had a powerful healthcare friend in common — Epic. Apple partnered with Epic on HealthKit and IBM is partnering with Epic on a bid to develop and implement the Department of Defense's new EHR system.

More Articles on Apple:

Ready for Pickup: Physician-Prescribed mHealth Apps
How Some of America's Largest Companies Are Poised to Shake Up Healthcare
Google, Healthcare and the Problem of Fun

 

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