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The future of technology as we know it took a massive step in a new direction today with the news of a partnership between Apple and IBM.

The two tech giants announced a partnership that could shift Apple from its traditional role as a consumer focused brand to a major player in the business market.

IBM plans to create a class of more than 100 business applications exclusively for iPhones and iPads to run on Apple's iOS. IBM will also market Apple's products, complete with 100 industry-specific apps, to its clients worldwide.

Transforming Enterprise Mobility

Just when we had enterprise mobility all figured out, we get this news from Apple and IBM.

It’s a sweet idea in that it leverages IBM’s well-established business clout with the cool of mobile which, quite frankly, belongs to Apple. Remember, the Mobile Enterprise isn’t only about phones. Everyone from sales and marketing pros, to service providers, to retail buyers and clerks all rely heavily iPads. The data they carry needs to be secured, collected, managed, analyzed and leveraged.

IBM, in its largely visual web announcement about the partnership, draws on its founder’s Thomas Watson’s earliest sentiment, “Good design is good business.”

And good design, no doubt, leads to engagement — it’s rare to find anyone who doesn’t want his hands on an iPad even if he’s used one a million times.

But good design, functionality and engagement isn’t the Mobile Enterprise’s only goal. There are business applications that can be hosted, data that must be collected, protected, and accessed, compliance rules that must be followed and so on. And IBM is one of the masters at this.

Mobile = Big Data

Never mind big data and analytics. Mobile devices are where more and more data is being collected and IBM is the world’s leader when it comes to big data revenue.

In a joint press release the companies say that they will “redefine the way work gets done, address key mobility industry challenges and spark true mobile-led business change.”

They say this will happen via four key capabilities: