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Apple’s Business Essentials subscription service supports small businesses that only use Apple

This week, Apple rolled out another test program, but instead of an early preview of software for your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, it's a new program called Business Essentials. In line with Apple's recent shift to selling services, this is a subscription package for small businesses with three different plans, a move that has been anticipated since it acquired the device management platform Fleetsmith more than a year ago.
Starting at $2.99 per device per month, they can cover employees with one or more devices, as well as more expensive plans that cover multiple devices and add more cloud storage. The AppleCare+ package will be fully available in spring 2022, adding 24/7 mobile support, training visits, and on-site repairs by Apple-trained technicians.

Like many other device management platforms, it simplifies the device installation process, preinstalled applications, and the management of security Settings such as FileVault for disk encryption and activation locks to protect devices if they are lost or stolen. There's also a new Business Essentials app for iOS, iPad, and macOS that puts all the different settings in one place.
I spoke with Oumar Sall, SVP of IT at Vox Media, who pointed out that during periods of high growth, this can be good for startups. Especially when dealing with more remote workers, it can help new employees get up and running as quickly as possible, even before the rest of the enterprise network is fully formed. It also helps if Apple's existing School Manager system doesn't work for schools.
It also has the advantage that Apple can use it. However, it is unlikely to challenge the industry mainstream as it is limited by the number of employees supported, at least so far, and it cannot be used across platforms. There's also the question of how data exports work if a company wants to leave iCloud.Terminal security management, and other issues that may come up later.
Jamf is one of them, as it provides device management for many organizations, including Vox Media. On Friday's earnings call, Apple CEO Dean Hager said he expects the service to help improve apple's built-in management tools, which Jamf also relies on, without directly competing with many of the features Jamf offers. If Business Essentials helps drive small businesses or startups to adopt Apple products, they have a base to buy more Apple devices and services as they grow, even if they eventually switch to more local support or other vendors.

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