Salesforce announces new iOS enterprise apps

Apple CEO Tim Cook will join Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff to speak at Dreamforce 2019 on Tuesday, underlining the two companies' commitment to working together.

Apple, Salesforce, iOS, iPad, iPhone, enterprise, Tim Cook, Mark Benioff

One year since Apple and Salesforce joined forces to make it easier to use the CRM platform with iOS, the two companies have announced new apps and a new SDK.

Swift, Siri, SDK and more

With around 80% of Fortune 500 companies making use of Salesforce, the move to introduce better iOS support on the CRM platform was pretty much inevitable as enterprise adoption of iOS hits critical mass.

Last week’s JNUC 2019 was a great illustration of just how far Apple has come in the sector, with some of the biggest names in enterprise IT now using iOS, and Apple tech used at every Fortune 500 firm.

These days, Apple support is an HR issue: You can’t attract new staff if you don’t support the platforms, and you may even have trouble retaining workers. 

When it comes to Salesforce, hundreds of companies across the globe have used its tools to bring iOS support, including The Home Depot, P&G and University of San Diego.

The importance of the partnership is also reflected in news that Apple CEO Tim Cook will join Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff to speak at Dreamforce 2019 on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. ET/1.30 p.m. PT.

So, what’s happening?

What’s new is that Salesforce has redesigned its Salesforce Mobile app and has also introduced the first-ever Trailhead GO learning app for iOS and iPadOS.

It has also introduced a Salesforce Mobile SDK developers can use in order to build and deploy native apps for iPhone and iPad on the Salesforce Platform.

What Apple is saying

“Working together, Apple and Salesforce have helped hundreds of businesses and millions of developers transform the way they work,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president for product marketing for apps, markets and services said in a statement.

“With brand new Salesforce Mobile apps exclusive to iOS and iPadOS, and an enhanced SDK that supports the latest advancements in Swift, Apple together with Salesforce offers customers strong privacy, powerful multitasking and the best user experience in business on iPhone and iPad.”

What’s Salesforce saying?

“With Salesforce Mobile, Salesforce and Apple are empowering sales, service and marketing professionals on the go to deliver game-changing customer experiences, powered by AI,” Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor said in a statement. “And with Trailhead GO, millions more learners can now skill up for free, anytime and anywhere, to learn in-demand skills and fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

What’s new in the Salesforce Mobile App?

Along with a better UI, the now-available Salesforce Mobile App includes an AI called Einstein. This AI tries to identify patterns, predict outcomes, provide guidance and  support increasingly automated workflows based on the data generated by the app.

The idea is that the AI inside the Salesforce Mobile App can make teams more productive, while supporting provision of increasingly personalized customer relationships.

The app also offers support for unique iOS features, including Siri shortcuts and Face ID, so tasks, notes and CRM updates can all be committed by voice alone.

Bridging the training gap

Salesforce has also improved its training offer for users with the introduction of its iOS-only Trailhead GO app, which provides access to Salesforce’s free online learning platform used by millions of workers worldwide.

The app provides anytime access to more than 700 training modules including Apple-specific items such as Get Started with iOS App Development.

The app was built on Swift using Salesforce’s Mobile SDK and supports Handoff, Split View and Picture-in-picture modes. You should be able to find it in your local app store.

Developers, developers, developers

Perhaps the most important news is the introduction of an enhanced set of developer tools in the form of the Swift-optimized Mobile SDK. This adds support for iOS 13, including Swift UI and Package Manager, for easier compiling and distribution of code.

Salesforce claims the SDK will enable more than six million developers working with its platform to build and deploy apps for Apple’s mobile devices.

The company hasn’t said whether it plans to use Catalyst to unify its Apple apps around iPad apps exported to the Mac, but with Office 365 (and Outlook) available on iOS the temptation must be there. Outlook and Salesforce are close companions, after all.

The new Salesforce Mobile SDK 8.0 with support for Dark Mode and Swift UI is expected to be available later this year, with additional features optimized for iPadOS expected to arrive in a 2020 release.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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