Apple’s latest foray into the enterprise involves deeper integration with Cisco

Lost in the hubbub of today’s two hour-plus Apple WWDC keynote was an announcement of deep integration between Apple and Cisco in the upcoming release of iOS 10 — yes, you read it correctly, Cisco.

When it comes to enterprise partnerships, IBM has gotten the lion’s share of the attention. More recently, SAP made a high-profile partnership announcement of its own, but last August Apple and Cisco also announced an agreement.

Apple has been working closely with Cisco engineers and interface designers ever since to help create an more intensive co-mingling between Cisco software and networks and iOS devices. Today, the announcement involved Cisco Spark, Cisco’s cloud collaboration platform and some advanced networking too.

The iOS integration, which will be available in iOS 10 later this year, makes Spark’s Voice over IP services an integral part of the phone, giving users access to contacts, recents, and favorites. Users can also answer calls directly from the lock screen and ask Siri to make calls using contacts in their address book. The latter is part of the the Siri third-party developer access announced today.

They also set it up so that iOS can find the fastest available Cisco wireless network to give users the “best available” connection, as well as “fast lane” capability, which, according to a company blog post, lets your IT department prioritize business-critical apps, giving them priority on a Cisco wireless network (sort of a private kind of internet throttling).

Of course this all assumes your company is all Cisco all the time, and most companies probably won’t be. The good news is that the Spark integration will work regardless.

All of these enterprise agreements have been designed to let both parties get something from the deal. The vendors get access to Apple’s keen design sense, while Apple can take advantage of the enterprise smarts of the partners and sell more Apple devices inside large companies, where Apple has traditionally had a tough time gaining traction.