Apple’s iOS 7.1 might be adding its anticipated “iOS in the Car” feature, but the updated mobile OS is also set to overhaul Mobile Device Management (MDM) and should reach the general public “around March 15,” according to a recent report.
The news comes from AppleInsider, which cites claims from an “unverified source” that iOS 7.1 should “improve iOS managed deployment” through adding “never before seen features” to its iOS deployment system. Mobile Device Management allows institutions such as schools and government organizations to mass-manage a fleet of iOS devices; apps (including custom apps), profiles, and restrictions can be placed on all managed devices quickly and easily using the service.
However, this is indeed set to improve next month, according to AppleInsider. The publication explains the handful of changes expected to reach MDM with iOS 7.1:
For one, Apple now has a live Volume Services website active for client login. With a 2014 copyright date, the site is said to still be in testing, but will launch with new features like the ability to “Automate MDM Enrollment” and “Buy Apps and Books in Volume.” A departure from the current Configurator tool, the website hints at the development of powerful backend assets that go beyond current MDM server capabilities. The source said these new tools will likely see release with the upcoming iOS 7.1 update.
You can access the new website (pictured above) at volume.apple.com. The publication continues to explain that “a tentpole feature for the new MDM system will be over-the-air supervision of deployed iOS devices, which will allow institutions to easily monitor and protect large iOS device deployments, the person said.”
This could make it possible for administrators to remotely configure iOS devices without users deleting the changes made. In schools, where iOS devices are often given to students, this would prove particularly useful.
Further, the new OTA method will bypass Apple’s Configurator app, which some administrators have criticized for its lack of powerful security tools. Configurator provides basic profile and managed configuration features, but is intended to be used by smaller organizations, not the typical enterprise or large education sector which Apple is now targeting.
This all sounds promising, and if the publication’s sources are accurate still, a release date of “around March 15” is penciled in for iOS 7.1. This falls in line with several other reports indicating that March is the month we’ll see the updated mobile OS reach users.
Besides revamping Mobile Device Management and adding support for iOS in the Car, iOS 7.1 makes a number of minor UI changes to the mobile OS and patches an essential evasi0n7 jailbreak exploit. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
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