Earlier this year, Apple introduced its Business Essentials plan for small businesses. The program includes device management, cloud storage and support for a single monthly subscription. Businesses can also add AppleCare+, which streamlines the process of 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, targeting up to approximately 500 employees,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s senior vice president of enterprise product marketing.explained to me at the time. “It’s designed to make managing Apple’s devices, keeping them up and running, as much 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 that don’t necessarily have a dedicated IT staff. In that case, the responsibility often lies with the small business owner. Business Essentials provides a much easier way to manage up to 3 devices per user, pre-assign apps and services, and handle support and repairs. “This new service provides invaluable time savings for customers – including those without a dedicated IT staff – who can reinvest them back into their business,” said Prescott.
Now Apple has partnered with T-Mobile to include Business Essentials and AppleCare+ in a monthly plan with an iPhone 13, for $50 a month if you have at least six lines.
“T-Mobile’s new Business Unlimited Ultimate+ for iPhone plan combines Business Essentials with blazing-fast 5G service, a powerful new iPhone 13 and more, making IT even easier for small businesses to do their best work.” Prescott said in a statement announcing the new plan.
That plan includes an iPhone 13 on T-Mobile’s Ultimate+ plan, which includes unlimited calls, texts, and high-speed data. It also packs 200GB of high-speed data for hotspot tethering, which is honestly the best feature of all. If you’ve ever tried to work remotely without Wi-Fi for a period of time, you know that you can easily blow past your mobile carrier’s limit for hotspot data.
Finally, the plan offers customers Wi-Fi via GoGo on Delta and Alaska Airlines, with service coming to United later this year, as well as unlimited texting and data when traveling internationally. Given the number of people who travel or work remotely, that’s especially useful.
The reason Apple is partnering with T-Mobile is, of course, that the plan includes Business Essentials and AppleCare+ on the iPhone 13. T-Mobile also allows existing customers to add Business Essentials to an existing iPhone with a business plan for $2.99 per month and have it billed directly to their T-Mobile account.
“Partnering 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,” Callie Field, president of T-Mobile Business Group, said in a statement. “We’re always looking for ways to bring more value to our customers, and by partnering with Apple we can tackle a whole new pain point for small businesses: IT management.”
Traditionally seen as more of a consumer brand, the country’s second-largest cellular provider (according to subscribers) has stepped up its efforts to win businesses over. In that light, it makes a lot of sense to target small businesses, which are not yet locked into huge contracts with complicated procurement processes. Partnering with Apple to provide those small businesses with an easier way to manage their devices certainly makes the decision a lot easier.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you spend more time than you’d like on tasks that aren’t why you started a business. Managing your employees’ devices is almost certainly one of them, and Apple’s solution was an easy way to take that off your plate — or at least make it less of your time.
“Apple is committed to helping small businesses thrive, and we’re proud of the long-standing relationships we’ve built with this community,” said Prescott. “Apple Business Essentials helps small businesses manage the full lifecycle 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 is the goal. An iPhone or iPad, or whatever device you use, is just a tool to get things done. The last thing you need is for it to add more work for you. With the new subscription from Apple and T-Mobile it is not necessary to get your employees connected.