SAP and Apple will deliver two new releases of the jointly produced SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS this year and provide three releases in 2018, an SAP executive said Thursday.
The last release this year is tentatively slated to coincide with the next update to the core iOS software, said Rick Knowles, the SAP general manager who oversaw the partnership with Apple and the SDK project, speaking at this week's Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Fla..
"We are continuing to invest in bringing more innovation to the SDK," Knowles said.
The software developer kit provides tools that developers can use to build native iOS mobile applications that connect to enterprise applications and data running on the SAP Cloud Platform. The kit conforms to user design elements from both vendors and provides business rules and security capabilities that enterprise applications require.
The alliance was unveiled one year ago and the first edition of the SDK debuted on March 30.
"This was a joint effort," Knowles said, providing a peek into what went into the creation of the SDK. He noted that at the height of the development work SAP lead software architects were flying to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., every four to six weeks for code-level reviews of the project.
"There was that level of commitment, from an engineering standpoint, to ensure that the key design principles were built into it, the foundation elements were built into it, [and] to leverage the capacities of the [SAP] Cloud Platform and the capacities of iOS," Knowles said.
SAP and Apple enlisted 23 developer partners and about 15 early adopter customers "to really pound on the SDK and test it," Knowles said. Partners included Accenture, Atos, Deloitte, Intersys, MindSet and TigerSpike. All of the partners have adopted the SDK and are using it as part of their development efforts, he said.
As part of the alliance SAP also established the SAP Academy for iOS to provide developer training services and workshops, and committed itself to developing some iOS applications.
The upcoming SDK releases will offer more user interface controls based on the SAP Fiori UI design language, Knowles said, and an expanded API library.
The alliance with Apple make sense given that the number of people accessing the internet from mobile devices now exceeds the number accessing it through desktop computers, said John Appleby, U.S. general manager for Bluefin Solutions, an SAP partner. "Mobile is user," he said. "That's where people are."
Knowles said the work with Apple and the SDK is an element of SAP's efforts to provide customers with tools for digital transformation, which he said "doesn't emanate from the core, it starts with the end user."
"It is about design, it is about this concept of really focusing on the end user and their job function and re-imagining how they do their work," he said.