News about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the focus of the weekly Goldman Sachs hardware download. Below is an excerpt from the latest research note on the tech giant.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) readying tools to simplify mass iOS device deployment and management (AppleInsider, February 17, 2014)

Our summary: An unverified source reported to AppleInsider that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is working with a select few MDM vendors and institutional clients to improve iOS managed deployment. The improvements are expected to ship “around March 15” as part of the iOS 7.1 update, which is set to include a new “Volume Services” web client that will feature automated MDM enrollment as well as volume purchases of apps and books.

Our take: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has steadily been bolstering its feature set for enterprises, which we expect will be the next battleground for smartphones as BYOD becomes increasingly prevalent. As discussed in our December 3, 2013 report, Technology: The role of the enterprise in the smartphone wars, Apple’s iOS 7 refresh in September took a significant step forward in courting enterprises by providing APIs that enable per-app security, data  transfers and management. As such, news of continued developments on this front is encouraging and could allow Apple to more broadly extend its reach outside of the consumer segment.

Apple Inc. AAPL
Apple Inc. AAPL

The IT hardware group outperformed the S&P 500 and the GS TMT Index this week. Our coverage universe gained 1.4%, as compared with increases of 0.5% in the S&P 500 and 1.2% in the TMT group. IM was the best performing stock in our universe, rising 10.0% after last week’s earnings upside and restructuring announcement that drove estimates higher. NMBL saw another week of outperformance with a gain of 7.9%. LXK was the third best performer, rising 3.3% for the week. AAPL was the worst performer with a decline of 2.4%. NTAP lost 2.2% on further weakness from last week’s earnings results. FIO rounded out the bottom three with a 1.7% contraction.