The announcement highlights the importance of business-to-business sales for device makers and network operators. Apple’s October event unveiling the iPhone 12 was focused heavily on consumer applications.
“This makes it simple, it makes it easy, it makes it affordable for enterprises to accelerate their transformation because of the power of 5G from Verizon and the device from Apple,” Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, said in an interview ahead of Thursday’s event.
“With iPhone, we set out to rethink how mobile can change people’s lives for the better, including at work,” Susan Prescott, vice president of Apple’s Markets, Apps and Services, told CNN Business in a statement. “We’ve added features for enterprise with every major software release. Today, virtually all of the Fortune 500 companies use iPhone, iPad and Mac, and momentum in business is growing.”
Verizon and Apple are betting that getting more 5G devices into the hands of companies will give developers greater incentive to create apps that use the new network technology, and potentially lead to even wider adoption.
“What we love about this is that you create an ecosystem, and they will build and they will innovate and they will accelerate the rate of transformation,” Erwin said.
For Verizon, the partnership also provides an opportunity to clinch potentially lucrative enterprise customers for its 5G network.
The major wireless carriers have spent tens of billions of dollars building out their 5G networks, and competition is heating up to secure market share. Many expect commercial use of 5G to drive more incremental revenue than consumer applications.
“If I think about 5G and what we’ve done over the last 18-months, we’ve gone rapidly from a PowerPoint concept to really proof of concept to, now, commercial availability,” Erwin said.
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