We heard changes to Apple's mobile device management (MDM) offering were inbound, and now ahead of iOS 7.1 a number of alterations to how iOS can be deployed within businesses and educational institutions have been unveiled.
Outlined initially by 9to5mac, the first of these changes concerns “how devices are configured before being assigned to employees.” Previously, Apple required I.T. admins to laboriously plug iOS devices one by one into a machine, in order to configure and enable restrictive profiles. Now, however, Cupertino is offering to sell iOS devices with profiles preconfigured; this stops users from removing restrictions from their smartphone or tablet, while also making it easier for administrators to set iOS devices up in the first place.
It's now also possible for Apple to remotely reconfigure or even wipe corporate handsets, according to a guide recently published by the company, and end users can now more easily have iOS applications purchased using Apple's Volume Purchase Program.
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.
Last, we're hearing that it's easier for under-13-year-olds to sign-up for an Apple ID. This comes with its share of restrictions, of course: account settings can't be changed, no credit card is attached to the account, Limit Ad Tracking is enabled, students can't opt-in to receive marketing materials, and parents or guardians can be notified of changes made to the account.
The publication draws attention to a guide for parents, which Apple published last month.
Apple has long fostered iOS deployment in enterprise and education, reportedly continuing to sell its second-generation iPad 2 due to a preference among schools for the less expensive, 30-pin-equipped tablet. Though it could be that the infamous “Decoy Effect” is in play here, too.
Besides offering MDM features and its Volume Purchasing Program, Apple's iBookstore and iBooks Author are also designed to encourage the iPad's use in the classroom.
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