How it could generate services revenue for Apple

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When iMessage launched with iOS 5, it was truly an awesome deployment design from Apple. There was no registration, it was automatic. There was no app to download – it was integrated with the SMS/messages app. There was no user interface to learn. It worked like your normal messaging app. Apple has done a good job of evolving the service. It’s no longer the only messaging app on the market, and I think Apple has an opportunity to turn iMessage into a professional chat tool if it expands it outside of the Apple ecosystem. Let’s see how Apple could create an [email protected] tool to compete with Slack and Microsoft Teams.

About [email protected]: Bradley Chambers managed a corporate IT network from 2009 to 2021. With his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, mobile device management system, Wi- Fi enterprise, hundreds of Macs and hundreds of iPads, Bradley will highlight the ways Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, train users, stories from the trenches of IT management and ways Apple could improve its products for IT services.


iMessage for business

Apple has done some of the leg work here by creating an iMessage for business communication tool. Apple Messages for Business is a service your business can use to communicate directly with customers using the Messages app. You can use the power of iMessage to solve problems, schedule appointments, make purchases or make payments with Apple Pay. Businesses can choose to use a messaging service provider (MSP) to handle customer requests through Messages for Business. Depending on the email setup you configure, your customers can start a conversation with your business through different entry points such as websites, apps, and email. Customers can connect with your business in Apple Maps or by tapping your phone number in the app.

If you’ve used Apple Messages for Business as a customer, you know it’s a straightforward experience. Customers like to chat for help like they do with their friends; they love seamless sharing from iOS and macOS. iMessage is ultimately a simplified chat app, and I think that’s ultimately what businesses need today.

I think it’s time for Apple to roll out an [email protected] tool that could be used instead of Slack or Microsoft Teams. Companies like Spike and Twobird are pioneering this approach with a messaging app that looks like a chat/messaging app.

If you’ve never tried Spike or Twobird, I highly recommend that you at least download it and sign in with your email account. It’s a revolutionary way to use email. This really highlights what Apple could do with a version of iMessage designed for cross-platform work. I think the most important feature of [email protected] would be the ability for users to customize their own workspace. Each user can create a personalized profile picture and display name, as well as create a list of contacts they consider important to their business, then organize them into different groups and projects. These rooms could be used as project management tools, allowing users to collaborate on a particular task or project with others in their group. This would make it easier to share files, discuss a project, etc.

Built-in FaceTime

In May 2020, I explained why FaceTime didn’t have its Zoom moment during the COVID lockdowns. I mentioned this lack of access for FaceTime on non-Apple platforms. Apple has since rectified that with the ability to join FaceTime calls from other platforms, but I think the secret sauce would be the ability to switch from chatting with work to a quick FaceTime call similar to how Slack enables Huddles. Spike also lets you quickly switch between chat and calls.

Cross-platform

For [email protected] to take off, Apple needs to expand it to Android, PC, and the web. Currently, iMessage is only available on iOS and macOS. Tim Cook recently dismissed the need for RCS for iPhone. I believe the wrong question was asked, however. iMessage is a great platform and Apple has the opportunity to expand into business services with an [email protected] subscription. Apple may charge a per-user subscription fee related to Managed Apple IDs and user registration. Employees using Apple devices could have a secondary iMessage instance for their work communication while Android and PC users could log in with their Managed Apple ID to chat with co-workers.

Recap on [email protected]

[email protected] is less about getting the consumer version of iMessage working on Android and Windows. It’s more about creating a company-specific version of iMessage that works across multiple platforms. Apple is focused on growing its service revenue, and [email protected] would be an opportunity to do just that.

Apple at Work is brought to you by Jamf: Get comprehensive management and security solutions for your organization that are secure for the business, simple for the consumer, and protect privacy with Jamf. Plus, you’ll get same-day support for the latest Apple operating system upgrades. Today, more than 62,000 organizations trust Jamf to manage and secure more than 27 million devices.

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