Good description of the new MobileFirst Apps for iOS:
IBM isn’t using any proprietary APIs in iOS 8, and so it’s theoretically possible for another developer to build the same apps. However, Gilfix [IBM’s director of Enterprise Mobile for MobileFirst products] believes IBM’s MobileFirst platform, the backend for all of these apps, gives IBM unique abilities for its apps that would be difficult to replicate anywhere else.
Apps are 70% standard, with the remaining 30% customized for each client’s needs. The business model is subscription-based, with a per-device / per-month charge, plus some one-time integration charges. Subscriptions include updates to the software for new iOS updates and access to IBM’s back-end infrastructure. …
The MobileFirst infrastructure adds a lot of significant features, including integration with existing security infrastructure, single sign on, and more. Apps can be developed to download and sync miniature versions of databases locally for offline connectivity, then upload and resync when connectivity is reestablished. Being able to work offline is essential for field technicians with power and telecom companies, for example, who could be working in very remote areas but still need to take data with them, and it’s a tricky programming task.