CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) -- Apple is extending its push into selling business technology by forging a partnership with the Deloitte consulting firm to advise companies on using iPhones, iPads and Apple software in the workplace.
While Apple primarily sells to the consumer market, it's confronting a global slowdown in consumer demand for smartphones and tablets. That's spurred the Cupertino, California, tech giant to announce business-focused partnerships with companies that sell technology to corporate customers. These include IBM, SAP and Cisco.
Apple says it sold $25 billion worth of products and services to businesses in the 12 months through September 2015. That was a 40 percent increase, but just a slice of its $233 billion in total sales. CEO Tim Cook told The Associated Press that Apple will soon announce figures that show more growth. Apple reports its quarterly earnings on Oct. 27.
"It's a healthy number and it's an incredibly great growth rate," he said.
Analysts say businesses are using more Apple devices after years of relying on computers running Microsoft programs like Windows, Office and Exchange. As mobile devices have become more popular, some companies found gadgets running Google's Android software to be cheaper and easily adapted to run specialized apps.
Many businesses started accommodating Apple devices, however, after employees started bringing them to work. Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen said companies like Apple devices for their ease of use and designs that emphasize data security.
Apple has also promoted its latest tablet, the iPad Pro, as a device that's well-suited for work because of its larger screen and accessories like a physical keyboard and stylus.
Deloitte's 244,000 workers are currently using about 100,000 Apple devices, many of them running custom software apps, Renjen said. Deloitte has created a team of 5,000 consultants to advise corporate clients on how to deploy Apple devices for specialized business tasks, such as insurance claims adjusting or retail sales, and building software apps for their business.