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Apple and SAP to release ‘developer-centric’ tools for iOS

Apple and SAP to release ‘developer-centric’ tools for iOS

As the fruits of a relationship forged last May, Apple and SAP will offer developer tools and training to build iOS apps for the enterprise.

Apple and SAP are preparing to release new tools and training to help developers  build enterprise apps for iOS devices. SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, which is integrated with Apple’s Swift programming language, will be available on March 30, according to SAP, which announced the plans this week at Mobile World Congress.

The companies have been working on the developer tools that can take advantage of native capabilities of iOS devices and the SAP Academy for iOS since they inked a wide-ranging agreement in May. The new SDK, design language and academy were expected to roll out before the end of 2016. Some early customers have been using the SDK in a more limited fashion, but general availability was delayed by at least three months. The SAP Academy for iOS is open for registration now, but the resources are limited and will be expanded further later this year, according to SAP.

“This is far and away the most developer-centric partnership that Apple has done,” says Van Baker, research vice president at Gartner. The Apple-SAP partnership is “very different” and “somewhat stronger” than Apple’s longer arrangement with IBM, he says. “This feels like it’s a little more developer oriented and providing the tools that the development community needs to go build applications that integrate with SAP backends.”

[ Related: SAP design chief talks details of Apple deal ]

Susan Prescott, vice president of product marketing at Apple, described SAP as a leader in enterprise software that can strengthen Apple’s capability to transform how people work. “We’re already seeing the impact that the combination of iOS and SAP brings to businesses to enable better, more efficient and effective processes across industries,” she said in a statement.

Apple and SAP combine the power of 15,000 developers

SAP and Apple are also trying to leverage their massive developer bases to advance enterprise app development. SAP has more than 2.5 million developers and Apple brings at least 13 million to the table. The first set of courses in the SAP Academy for iOS are aimed at providing developers the tools and resources to make the best use of the SDK, cloud platform and latest features of Apple iOS devices and software for their organization, according to SAP. SAP also created a suggested learning path for mobile developers to follow when they get started.

“SAP is pervasive. Almost everybody has some kind of SAP backend out there,” Baker says. “So from that perspective it’s going to be a huge appeal for developers that are trying to build business development applications. It puts Apple in good footing in the market as being the preferred mobile tool, but at the same time it gives SAP the most preferred mobile platform.”

[Related: Apple’s SAP deal means more iOS enterprise apps]

Apple has inked four major enterprise partnerships in less than three years. While IBM was first and remains highly visible in the market, SAP is serving a different need by equipping developers with the tools to integrate SAP backend systems into their organization’s mobile apps. “The Apple-IBM partnership is more focused on delivering pre-built applications that can be configured for use in the enterprise and licensed for use in the enterprise,” Baker says.

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