Apple Makes Play For Google And Microsoft's Small Business Gains

Apple Business Essentials was launched this week as Apple's all-inclusive hub for small business owners. The service has a subscription fee that enables business owners to handle device management, 24/7 Apple Support (for devices and software), and iCloud storage. This hub will be Apple's go-to place for the handling of IT in a small business, with special focus on MacOS, iOS, and all things Apple.

Features

Apple Business Essentials separates features into four sections with three categories each, one each for Subscription tracking, Users, Devices, and Collections.

The first grouping of features includes Subscription, Activity, and Locations. The Apple Business Essentials administrator will see Users, User Groups, and Roles (for each user therein). They'll have access to all Devices, Service & Support, and a full Assignment History for devices.

In Collections, the admin will have the ability to group specific apps together for administration on user devices. One Collection might include several apps that'll be used by a certain set of users, which in turn are assigned to specific devices. Collections have the ability to list and handle Settings for users, devices, and apps, and all elements have dates added and updated – where it makes sense to have such markers.

Collections allow the admin to push settings to devices and apps on devices like WiFi passwords and configurations of all sorts. Apps include the Apple Business Essentials app itself (of course), as well as a variety of 3rd-party corporate apps like Microsoft Word and Cisco Webex.

In short, you're looking at a system for an IT administrator of a company looking to keep track of all the company's employees, devices, and apps on devices, along with cloud storage and easy contact for assistance for all elements.

Release Date and Prices

The Apple Business Essentials system was launched in November of 2021 as a free beta. This service will be launched fully in the spring season of the year 2022. Apple's pricing structure starts with a $2.99 per month fee per user.

A single-device plan is $2.99 per month with 50GB storage with iCloud. There'll also be device-only plans for devices like displays and kiosks without iCloud storage. Multidevice plans start at $6.99 per month with up to three devices per user and 200GB storage. "Multidevice, more storage" options ramp up to three devices and 2TB storage per user.

There'll also be plans with AppleCare+ for Business Essentials available in the Spring of 2022 – maybe not at launch, but soon after.