Apple enlists the help of IBM in surprising move to tackle enterprise

Apple and IBM announced they have come together to transform the enterprise market. No, you haven't entered an alternate dimension. This is happening.

More specifically, both companies have described the new situation as a "landmark partnership" that will "redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change." IBM plans to wield its expertise in big data and analytics, while Apple will offer its design chops and user experience of the iPhone and iPad. It's an interesting move for Apple, which has long catered to consumers over business and enterprise.

So, here's how the partnership will work: IBM plans to sell iOS devices to corporate clients, with more than 100 pre-installed enterprise apps and software designed in collaboration with Apple. These "made-for-business" apps are expected to start rolling out this autumn, continuing into 2015. They will address a range of industries such as retail, healthcare, banking, travel, telecommunications, and insurance. They'll also work with IBM's cloud infrastructure and Apple services like iCloud.

Tim Cook, chief executive officer at Apple, told tech blog Recode in an interview on Tuesday that Apple is good at "building a simple experience and in building devices,” and that sort of skill set - when paired with IBM's deep industry expertise - will help "transform the enterprise". He also told CNBC that Apple was interested in achieving new levels but that it couldn't tackle the corporate world alone.

Ginni Rometty, the chief executive officer of IBM, seemed to have similar thoughts: "We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without," she said in a statement. "Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform."

Coupled with today's announcement, Apple also introduced a new customer service package called AppleCare for Enterprise. It will provide IT departments and users with support 24 hours a day and seven days a week.