Earlier this year, Apple rolled out its Business Essentials plan for small businesses. The program includes device management, cloud storage, and support for a single monthly subscription. Businesses could also add AppleCare+, streamlining the process for getting service and repairs on those devices.
"It's a brand new service from Apple that combines device management, storage, and support into a single subscription for small businesses, targeted to up to about 500 employees," Apple's SVP of enterprise product marketing, Susan Prescott, explained to me at the time. "It's designed to make managing Apple's devices, keeping them up and running, as fun as using them -- or, at least, as easy as using them."
One of the key points is that it's designed for small businesses who don't necessarily have a dedicated IT staff. In that case, the responsibility often falls on the small business owner. Business Essentials offers a far easier way to manage up to 3 devices per user, pre-assign apps and services, and handle support and repairs. "This new service leads to invaluable time savings for customers -- including those without dedicated IT staff -- that they can invest back into their business," said Prescott.
Now, Apple is partnering with T-Mobile to include Business Essentials and AppleCare+ in a monthly subscription that includes an iPhone 13. It's $50 per month when you have a least six lines.
"The new Business Unlimited Ultimate+ for iPhone plan from T-Mobile will combine Business Essentials with blazing fast 5G service, a powerful new iPhone 13, and more -- making IT even easier for small businesses, so they can do their best work," said Prescott in a statement announcing the new plan.
That plan includes an iPhone 13 on T-Mobile's Ultimate+ plan, which includes unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data. It also includes 200 GB of high-speed data for hotspot tethering, which honestly might be the best feature of all. If you've ever tried to work remotely without WiFi for any period of time, you know you can easily blow past your mobile carrier's limit on hotspot data.
Finally, the plan offers customers WiFi through GoGo on Delta and Alaska Airlines, with service coming to United later this year -- as well as unlimited text and data when traveling internationally. Considering the number of people traveling or working remotely, that's especially useful.
Of course, the reason Apple is partnering with T-Mobile is the plan includes Business Essentials and AppleCare+ on the iPhone 13. T-Mobile will also allow existing customers to add Business Essentials to an existing iPhone on a business plan for $2.99 per month, and have it billed directly to their T-Mobile account.
"Teaming up with Apple is just one more way we can support small businesses as they continue to be the source of countless jobs and innovations across America," said Callie Field, president of T-Mobile Business Group, in a statement. "We're always looking for ways to provide more value to our customers and working with Apple gives us the opportunity to tackle a whole new pain point for small businesses -- IT management."
Traditionally thought of more as a consumer brand, the country's second-largest mobile carrier (by subscribers) has been stepping up its efforts to win over businesses. In that light, it makes a lot of sense to target small businesses, which aren't already locked into huge contracts with complicated procurement processes. Partnering with Apple to offer those small businesses an easier way to manage their devices certainly makes the decision a lot easier.
If you're a small business owner, there's a good chance that you spend more time than you'd like on tasks that aren't the reason you started a business in the first place. Managing your employee devices is certainly one of those, and Apple's solution is a simple way to take that off your plate -- or at least make it take less of your time.
"Apple is committed to helping small businesses thrive, and we're proud of the longstanding relationships we've built with this community," said Prescott. "Apple Business Essentials helps small businesses manage the entire life cycle of their Apple products -- from device management and storage, to support and repairs -- so they can focus on running and growing their business."
Ultimately that's the goal. An iPhone or iPad, or whatever device you use, is just a tool to help you get things done. The last thing you need is for it to add more work for you. With Apple and T-Mobile's new plan, getting your employees connected doesn't have to be work.