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Apple Business Essentials service that helps small businesses manage iPhone, iPad and Mac devices launched as a beta last November. At the time, Apple promised the service would leave beta in the spring, and now that time has come. Apple Business Essentials is now available to all small businesses in the US. In addition to leaving beta, Apple has also revealed the pricing for an AppleCare+ add-on.
Using Apple Business Essentials, small businesses can provision iPhone, iPad and Mac devices using the Apple Business website, eliminating the need to hire an IT professional or similar.
Once a device goes through the user enrollment process, it can receive specific apps hand-picked by the small business owner, along with VPN configurations and Wi-Fi passwords. For example, businesses can create different profiles in the portal for specific departments and users. Marketing would have a different set of apps available than sales, while workers in the field would have their own specific settings as well. All business-related information is kept separate from any personal data and information on the device.
Apple Business Essential subscriptions start at $2.99 a month for a single device, providing 50GB of iCloud storage. You'll pay $6.99 to manage up to three devices, getting 200GB of storage along with it. You can manage up to three devices and get 2TB of storage for $12.99 per month for users who need more storage. Customers, whether they participated in the beta or not, will get a two-month free trial to test out the service.
The new AppleCare+ for Business Essentials plans include the same benefits as the standard plan but also include repair credits for, in some cases, onsite repairs and 24/7 support. Plans at $9.99 for a single device with one credit repair. For $19.99 a month, you'll get two repair credits, with the same number of credits included in the $24.99 option (the price difference is due to the 2TB storage tier.)
AppleCare+ for Business Essentials covers accidental coverage, but not theft and loss. However, subscribers gain access to onsite repairs in select cities (currently Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area) for the iPhone, with next-day appointments available for Mac, iPad and Apple TV devices enrolled in the program.