IBM continues fanboi courtship with fresh crop of iOS apps

Big Blue pops out three more Apple-ready business tools

IBM has released a trio of enterprise applications for iOS devices, as part of its Businesslab partnership with Apple.

Big Blue's three new iOS apps offer tools for customer service tasks and remote working, two areas that IBM and Apple cited as keys last year when they announced their joint effort to put IBM business software on the Apple iPhone and iPad lines.

One of the new apps is an airline tool known as Passenger Care. The tablet tool will allow airline staff to perform tasks such as check-in and seating on a mobile device rather than behind a desk. This, IBM believes, will allow airline (or train) agents and attendants to move around the terminal and ease congestion at service desks.

A second app targets retailers. Named "Dynamic Buy", the app will target the roving retail buyers who obtain products for storefronts. The app combines store data such as inventory price margins with a store's financial performance data and analysis tools to suggest purchases and quantities.

IBM plans to target the app at retailers who use buyers deployed in the field across multiple stores.

The third new app in the MobileFirst expansion targets the banking and financial services market. Known as Advisor Alerts, the app will let financial advisors and agents look up customer data through their iPhone or iPad device. The apple will include a dashboard presentation with customer information and will integrate with IBM's analytics platforms.

Big Blue says the app can be set up to cover each customer's particularly regulatory requirement, ensuring the mobile apps are compliant with data protection standards.

All three of the releases, says IBM, are entirely new apps and not iOS ports of previous mobile or desktop apps on other platforms.

Last July, when IBM and Apple announced their intention to stage an office romance, Big Blue said it would develop and port hundreds of vertical and horizontal applications to Apple devices.

For IBM, the partnership will open up more customers who have sought to use their employee's iOS devices for work, while the availability of IBM software for business could help correct a continuing decline in iPad shipments. ®

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