IBM to start selling Apple iPhones and iPads

BlackBerry crumbled by Apple and IBM
BlackBerry crumbled by Apple and IBM

It's like Burger King selling the Big Mac -- sort of.

Get ready for iPhones and iPads preloaded with specialized business IBM software.

Apple (AAPL) and IBM (IBM) on Tuesday announced a partnership to leverage each company's strengths. Starting this fall, Apple is delivering devices exclusively to IBM, which "Big Blue" will then prep with industry-specific apps for business customers.

The idea is to provide specialized Apple devices to companies in banking, health care, insurance, retail, travel and transportation.

Related: Tim Cook is NOT Steve Jobs. Who cares?

IBM said it will listen to the distinct needs of business clients, then craft software that addresses those issues.

"For the first time ever we're putting IBM's renowned big data analytics at iOS users' fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement, calling the partnership "a radical step."

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty promised a "transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform."

ibm apple partnership

Starting this fall, the devices will only be available through IBM representatives to their business clients. They will include a private app catalog, data security services and more.

An IBM spokeswoman said it was too early to give examples of what kinds of apps would be available. The companies also said Apple devices would use IBM's vast and powerful cloud services -- which offer data storage and work-sharing capabilities.

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