Apple launches Apple Business Essentials subscription for SMBs

Apple Business Essentials​ will be free to beta customers with a launch planned for Spring 2022. Plans start at $2.99 per user per month.

Apple launched Apple Business Essentials, a subscription service aimed at small businesses with up to 500 employees that combines device management, storage and support.

The company has been working on the service for SMBs as it builds out its subscription base. Apple is best known for its consumer services, but SMBs represent a big opportunity for the company to ride shotgun with its large enterprise success.

For the three months ending Sept. 25, Apple's services revenue was $18.3 billion, up from $14.55 billion a year ago. Services are Apple's second-largest revenue stream behind iPhone.

Apple Business Essentials will be free to beta customers with a launch planned for Spring 2022. Apple Business Essentials pricing and key details break down like this:

  • $2.99 per user/month for a single device and 50GB storage.
  • $6.99 per user/month for up to 3 devices and 200GB storage.
  • $12.99 per user/month for up to 3 devices and 2TB storage.
  • Devices include iPhone, iPad and Mac. AppleCare+ for Business Essentials will be available in Spring 2022, with pricing announced then.
  • SMBs can mix and match devices and users on one bill.

The subscription is likely to find a receptive audience. Small businesses don't have the time or staff to manage IT operations and the device life cycle that includes chores such as setup, employee onboarding, backup, repairs, support and upgrades.

Apple Business Essentials will allow businesses to configure settings for individuals, groups, and devices based on roles for small businesses. For instance, a marketing team would have one set of apps for their devices with certain permissions. A project management team would have a different setup. The ability to put sets of employees into Collections speeds up onboarding and distribution of corporate apps.

Another feature of Apple Business Essentials is the ability to bundle Apple Care+. Apple Care+ for Business Essentials will give SMBs 24/7 access to phone support, IT training and up to two device repairs per plan a year. Repairs can be handled via Apple's network of trained technicians in as little as 4 hours. Overnight mail and Apple Store locations are other options.

Apple also includes storage and backup services with iCloud.