SAN FRANCISCO — Apple has announced a new partnership with German software giant SAP to develop mobile apps that business customers can use on iPhones and iPad tablets.

While Apple’s consumer product business is slowing, it’s been looking for new growth by tapping into the lucrative market for commercial technology. Apple has a similar arrangement with IBM to develop specialized apps for airline workers, sales clerks and other business users.

Under the new deal, Apple and SAP plan to release programming tools that software developers can use to build apps for Apple’s handheld devices. The apps will tie into SAP’s commercial software, which businesses use to manage inventory, manufacturing, sales and other operations.

Apple has recently begun selling “Pro” versions of its iPad tablets with features designed for business users.

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