by Jason Snell
Apple launches Business Essentials service
Apple announced Thursday that it’s launched its Apple Business Essentials program for small businesses in the United States. The company announced the program in November 2021 and has been running it in beta form in the intervening months. The program uses device-management features built into iOS/iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey.
Apple Business Essentials rolls together device management, support, and iCloud storage into a single subscription offering for businesses between 50 and 500 employees in size. (Those are not hard limitations; Apple says it’s seen some even smaller businesses use the service, and the total number of users is not capped at 500.) The program seems to be targeted at business that don’t really have dedicated IT staff, providing simple device management, support, and repair directly.
Beginning today, businesses have the option to add prioritized support for employee devices with AppleCare+ for Business Essentials. This service includes 24/7 access to phone support, training for both IT administrators and employees, and up to two device repairs per plan — by individual, group, or device — each year. Employees can initiate repairs directly from the Apple Business Essentials app, and an Apple-trained technician can come onsite in as little as four hours to get their iPhone back up and running.
Per-user pricing starts at $3 per month, and increases based on the number of devices and amount of iCloud storage allotted to individual users. (The top plan, supporting three devices per user with 2TB of iCloud storage, is $13.) Plans with AppleCare+ included start at $10 per user per month and goe up to $25. AppleCare+ credits aren’t tied to individual users, but pooled across the entire organization, and expire after a year. Business Essentials comes with a two-month trial period, so that companies can experiment with it before deciding to roll it out.
On the horizon for the service, but not yet in this version: support for Google Workspace as an identity provider (currently Microsoft Azure is the only one supported) is coming “later this spring”, and Apple is working on a way to let apps that aren’t in the Mac App Store to be rolled out to devices.