Theis taking shape: Apple has now detailed what customers can expect from the pair's combined support service.
Apple published details of its AppleCare for Enterprise on a new page of its website support section, signalling that IBM customers can, or at least soon will be able to, get service from Apple's support team.
Under the, IBM will sell, lease, and manage iPhones and iPads with its MobileFirst for iOS software, a portfolio of apps which include big data and analytics. IBM will then target these devices at different verticals including banking, healthcare, transport, and travel.
Meanwhile, AppleCare for Enterprise will provide IT shops with around-the-clock remote assistance while IBM would deliver on-site support.
Apple's new page fleshes out the description of services that enterprise customers can expect. The iPhone maker will bring a touch of its Genius Bar approach to the enterprise via a dedicated AppleCare account manager — "your personal liaison with AppleCare" - with a one-hour response time on urgent issues.
Apple will even provide support for mobile device management (MDM) and Active Directory integration issues and help deal with IBM's MobileFirst apps.
"You'll get IT department–level support by phone or email for all Apple hardware and software. We'll provide support for complex deployment and integration scenarios, including MDM and Active Directory. And if you need help with IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps, we'll help troubleshoot your solution and work with IBM to get your issue resolved," Apple said on its website.
Apple will also take some of the load off its customers' own IT helpdesks if queries relate to Apple hardware; operating systems; apps such as Keynote, Pages, and Numbers; and personal accounts or settings.
Combined with IBM's Global Technology Services (GTS) unit - which is also an Authorised Apple Reseller - Apple will offer onsite hardware service under one-, two-, or three-year service deals. GTS provides onsite service within the next business day. The service dovetails with Apple's existing iOS direct service program for next day replacement of failed iOS hardware. On top of that, customers can replace up to 10 percent of their covered iOS iPad and iPhone devices, if an employee happens to break one.
The support service is currently being offered in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, and the US. In Europe, the service is available in France, Germany, Italy and the UK.
For pricing, customers need to contact AppleCare for Enterprise directly.
Some analysts expect the deal with IBM to bring Apple as, which could help revive its flat iPad business. Apple reported in its latest earnings update that iPad sales fell to 12.3 million, compared with 14.08 million a year ago.