Apple announced a new subscription service on Wednesday geared at assisting small-business owners in managing their employees' Apple devices.

Apple's Business Essentials service is similar to management software sold to major businesses by companies like Microsoft Corp and VMware for setting up and maintaining secure their fleets of phones, laptops, and tablets. Apple's version, on the other hand, is tailored at companies with 50 to 500 people and either a small IT department or none at all.

Depending on how many devices a company wants to manage for each employee and how much cloud storage the company wants, the service will cost between $2.99 and $12.99 per month per user.

Apple will also offer a service to repair or replace broken hardware at a business within four hours for an extra monthly fee, though the company has not yet established pricing.Gurman: Apple's Second Fall Event to Focus on Both New Macs and New iPads - MacRumors

In an interview with a major Newswire, Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of enterprise and education marketing, said, "Time is of the importance - for small businesses, it's one of their most significant resources." "As they grow older, they will have additional demands on their time. That might be in place of operating the company and doing the things that need to be done."

The combination of management software and a repair service subscription, according to Maribel Lopez, founder, and lead analyst at Lopez Research is unique in the business.

"People will think that element isn't important," she added, "but I think they're underestimating the importance of being able to get very fantastic service."

Apple announced on Wednesday that it will begin testing Business Essentials in the United States, with the service remaining free until next year. Apple executives have stated that they intend to spread it to other regions in the future.