msc mobile emerging technologies blog

SAP and Apple - a critical look at the new iOS SDK

Posted by Alexander Ilg on Apr 19, 2017 1:55:11 PM
SAP and Apple finally released their SDK for iOS. So, what does it bring for SAP, Apple, partners and customers? I want to share my opinion in this blog.

I was lucky enough to be one of the first to get the chance to play with the iOS SDK last November at a SAP event in Barcelona. I think it is an impressive toolkit and it goes into the right direction. The client side handling of the SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services (previously HCPms, now SCPms) has been greatly improved and the positive influence of Apple can be seen right away. Therefore, it is only good news for developers who want to write a native iPad or iPhone application that connects to SAP.


But what is in for SAP and Apple? SAP of course wants to get more users onto their platform. And when we speak about platform, we talk about the SAP Cloud Platform. The SDK is not available for on premise use together with the SAP Mobile Platform. This is a big limitation for customers who want to use it to mobilise their SAP system, but who cannot go to the cloud now (company policies, industry restriction, legal issues etc.). The cloud is clearly the future, but it is not here for everybody today.

And for Apple? Apple of course wants to win enterprise customers and if possible lock them into their ecosystem. If you use the iOS SDK your application will only run on iPhone and iPad. This is in the interest of Apple, who want to make it as hard as possible for customers to switch to Android or Windows.

The customer point of view has already been touched in the paragraph before - customers who want to keep their options open cannot use the SDK but instead should use the Kapsel SDK in combination with SCPms. This way they can run their applications on iOS, Android and Windows 10 with the additional benefit of the on premise deployment option. 

Who should use the iOS SDK? Only customers who want to go into the cloud and that are 100% sure that they will only use iOS devices in the future. Everybody else should look for a different solution based on Apache Cordova and HTML5/SAP UI5. If you want to deploy on premise you can chose between SAP Mobile Platform or SAP MobiLink as middleware, if you prefer the cloud, you can use the SCP counterparts SCPms or Remote Data Service (RDS).

I am a big Apple fanboy and it is clear to me that native applications will always beat hybrid ones regarding performance and usability, but the difference between the two has become smaller. I would go with a hybrid approach to ensure my investment.


Topics: MobiLink, SAP Mobile Platform, iOS, SAP