Although it wasn’t announced on stage yesterday when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2, Apple has now officially opened JointVenture, a program aimed at helping support small businesses move to Apple products. Apple describes the program as a way to “help you use Mac, iPhone, and iPad to improve the way your business runs.”
The program operates much like the Apple’s “Genius Bars” located inside its retail stores, except that, in this case, the technical support and training is oriented to small businesses installation and usage.
The program starts at $499 a year when bought with a new Mac and includes support for up to five systems (although you can add more for $99 a pop). The service includes assistance with installation and data transfer, company training, and support. The latter is key here to making businesses feel comfortable making the switch to Apple products, I’d argue, and the JointVenture service includes access to “Genius” support by phone as well as in-store. Even more compelling is the offer of a loaner computer if yours is in the shop.
The popularity of the iPhone and iPad for consumers is already prompting many businesses to explore ways to adopt and support Apple devices in the workplace. By launching the JointVenture program, it’s clear that Apple wants to be able to make a strong play to deliver the businesses the technology – for phones, tablets and personal computers.