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Apple recently introduced several changes to the ways education and enterprise customers can manage iOS device deployments.

The first of these changes has to do with how devices are configured before being assigned to employees. Previously IT administrators would have to plug each device into a computer and apply a profile that configured the settings and restrictions. Under the revised program, customers can now order pre-configured devices directly from Apple, cutting out the setup step and allowing for faster, more convenient deployment. These profiles are also locked to the device, which prevents end users from removing them to use the device as they please.

Deployed devices can also be managed remotely using a new zero-touch configuration setup, which gives IT admins the ability to reconfigure or wipe corporate iPhones and iPads without ever having to bring it into an office. A new device enrollment guide published by Apple contains all of the details of the new options.

Changes have also been made to the Volume Purchase Program, which allows institutions to buy iOS apps in bulk for deployed devices. End users can now put in purchase orders for software through their IT departments just as if they were requisitioning any other software or hardware. This will allow IT departments to better outfit corporate iOS devices with the software employees need to do their jobs effectively.

Finally, a new change to the under-13 Apple ID program makes it easier for students to sign up for Apple’s services on school devices (with parental consent, of course). A parent’s guide to the program was published this month that aims to inform parents of the inherent limitations placed on under-13 Apple IDs in order to comply with FCC rules on data collection from minors.

According to the parent’s guide, these restrictions include:

• Account settings, such as email address and date of birth, cannot be changed.
• No credit card is attached to the account at setup.
• Limit Ad Tracking is turned on for the account to ensure the student does not receive targeted advertising from Apple.
• Students can’t opt-in to receive marketing materials.
• A parent or guardian can be notified of any significant changes to the terms of the account.

Under-13 accounts will automatically be converted to full, unrestricted Apple IDs on the user’s 13th birthday. All data and services previously setup with the account will be retained.

With these new changes, some of which Microsoft holdouts have been requesting for some time, Apple is continuing to challenge the Redmond company’s grasp on the institutional market it once dominated.

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14 Responses to “Apple introduces significant changes to iOS for education and enterprise programs”

  1. I don’t fully understand this article? Anyone care to explain please?

  2. kpom1 says:

    This sounds like a good idea, in particular the educational accounts. The consumer market has reached a saturation point, so why not expand outreach to the enterprise and educational markets to boost sales?

  3. trombone1994 says:

    can i just say that deploy.apple.com looks fantastic. clean, simple, user friendly.

  4. Any change is good I suppose, but none of this changes the two or three main problems I face in my job in terms of mass deployment of iOS devices. These are minor issues.

    The big “no-go” problems, like the need for individual, personal, Apple ID’s for every single device, and the complete failure of Airplay, Airdrop and pretty much all the other Apple iOS technologies when used on an authenticated network (which every school, university and fortune 500 company uses) means that “the problems” (the real problems) still remain.

    – You still can’t “really” deploy multiple devices for multiple users with different software sets where the users and the software change even on a daily basis, let alone for multiple classes. At least no without breaking a few laws.

    – The users of the devices still can’t actually share files with each other without using a third party hack or by breaking into the operating system itself because all sharing is wireless and all the wireless features of Apple’s products basically fail on an authenticated network.

    – The devices still can’t be used in any kind of collaborative fashion for the reasons above and more besides.

    – They still can’t *really* be used without necessarily exposing peoples private Apple IDs. In practice, no matter how hard we try, the Instructors personal credit card is the only thing that will save the day half the time, and students private information is also compromised daily.

    Example: A class full of students that all want to take videos during the class, then put all those videos together to make a collaborative video project. This is childs-play with “computers” and “video cameras” (the way we used to do it). With iOS devices this simple common project is almost a complete impossibility. It’s a process nightmare to figure out even if you can.

    The devices are simply too locked down, and too locked to individual, *commercial* accounts to actually work well in any kind of a classroom setting. Some days we have to violate 5 different University rules just to get the things to work on the network the way the instructors want them to. At a Fortune 500 company, that isn’t even possible.

    • Peter Rooke says:

      You make some valid points, but you’re missing a trick with your example. Use a dropbox account that all your students are logged into to collect the data from various devices…. to get really collaborative, bring Showbie into the equation.

      In the UK (and elsewhere) there are organisations with an ASE accreditation (Apple Solutions Expert, Education) who specialise in working with schools who’d like to implement this technology. Our job is to help schools realise their vision and get around potential drawbacks like you mentioned. Shameless plug – I run the team at Square Group in London. Link In with me if you’d like some pointers to get your project rolling along.

      • Jeff Liwag says:

        We run into these same issues. VPP and Configurator were half-hearted attempts, if not an afterthought if you ask me. I have high hopes for this recent development since we have already invested thousands of taxpayer dollars into these things that will be obsolete in a few years.

        As for the collaborative piece, I’d have suggested Google Apps for Education, but we run into the Authentication problem with GAFE as well. At the moment, I would recommend Chromebooks over iPads, especially at the secondary level for future purchasing decisions, especially for institutions that use GAFE.

    • Kelly says:

      We use iPads for collective video projects on our authenticated network with no problems, though it was a pain at first setting it up and there were a few battles. Using mobile devices without wireless seems like a waste of time to me, since being untethered-ly mobile seems to be the point of being mobile. Chromebooks are a great choice for a more desktop and keyboard- centered curriculum– but I would not use them for a mobile curriculum. IWe support both and the changes to iOS management are very welcome.

  5. Been using iPad and iPhone for business the last 3 years and email was a little rough in the beginning but shaped up nicely. I still laugh when Droid fanboys call Apple’s mobile devices toys.

    • Jeff Liwag says:

      There are “Droid fanboys?” Do you honestly mean to say Verizon’s soon-to-be-defunct line of Android devices have devout followers?

  6. Anoop Menon says:

    Well a good move indeed. I still feel a dashboard with more control on iPhones by the IT admin of a company will be good. [Enterprise program]. More restriction which can be turned on or turned off from a dashboard is good. Apple can provide this service as a paid SAAS. I am sure companies would love this idea.

  7. Leigh Ellis says:

    This is going to be an absolute godsend to our company, upgrading users from one phone to another would be a huge task, but with this it will allow us to send them an enrolled device, safe in the knowledge that if they restore their old phone’s backup to it, we will still have the phone enrolled in our Absolute MDM software.

  8. Seems they did a good job for kids.
    Playing the honest card.