Apple made huge improvements to its iOS enterprise and education management tools this week and with all of the schools across the country trying to implement iPads into their curriculum it doesn’t arrive a moment too soon. New changes are going to go a long way in convincing a skeptical IT community to stop resisting iPad deployments in situations with massive numbers.
Changes include new ways to prepare devices, remote management, and a slew of new tools to help with safety and security for students. Apple has also released a number of new documents which help explain the new features. Once again Apple is demonstrating their dedication to large scale deployments and has revitalized the iPad as a viable solution for all scales.
Fraser Speirs, Head of Computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland spoke with TechCrunch.com about the updates:
“I think the overarching story here is that these changes are all about making deployments scale up to genuinely massive numbers,” says Speirs. “School districts are topping out at around 50k units right now — to my knowledge — but there are obviously bigger deployments in other areas of education – and enterprise.”
The reactions so far seem muted, partly because it seems that everyone has been hearing for so long what isn’t possible that they likely don’t want to get their hopes up. In the next few days and weeks it should become clear just how much is improved and what is still on our wish lists.
“I do think these are major steps forward for IT organizations,” Carl Howe, Vice President, Research and Data Sciences at Yankee Group, told TechCrunch. “In many organizations, IT spends much of its time being ‘the department of no,’ where they tell employees that they can’t do things for reasons of manageability or security. By making Apple devices more manageable and being transparent with its security, Apple is helping those IT organizations go from being the department of no to ‘the department of yes.’ And given that ease of use boosts security compliance, the fact that this can be done in ways that don’t require the end-user to do anything special (i.e., their device gets provisioned to them fully linked up to their organization, secured, etc.), it should make Apple devices even more popular in businesses than they already are.”
It’s going to take some time to implement changes in many companies and schools, but I’m pretty sure there are quite a few school districts that will jump on board right away and be our unofficial ‘beta testers’. One of the main features I am interested in most is the new app deployment feature which allows the company or school to buy apps in bulk and put them on devices without ownership issues. That is going to potentially change the game in many ways.
Here’s a link to the official page and documentation.