Apple Updates Enterprise Tools for Large iOS Device Deployments

Apple has updated the software used by large companies and educational institutions to deploy thousands of iPads and iPhones to employees and students. The changes to Apple's Device Enrollment Program, its Volume Purchase Program, and the Apple ID for Students services are detailed in a report at TechCrunch and in an overview document [PDF] posted to Apple's IT Deployment site.

Among other changes, Apple now allows IT administrators to set up devices without physically plugging each one into a computer to install a profile, potentially saving significant amounts of time when setting up thousands of devices. Also, profiles can be locked to devices, preventing employees or students from removing any restrictions simply by revoking an IT department profile -- something that derailed the Los Angeles Unified School District's rollout of iPads to thousands of students.

ipad_for_education
I’ve had conversations with IT pros and people who roll out large iPad installs in the past and they’ve mentioned that one of the things that has continued to cause Windows devices to hold some appeal is their better remote installation and configuration support. To that end, Apple has made some updates to improve that situation.

Both the enterprise and education programs now have support for Mobile Device Management hands free configuration. This ‘zero touch’ setup has been a long-requested feature for many pros, as it eliminates the need to cable up every deployed device and install a profile via Apple’s Configurator utility.
Apple has expanded the Volume Purchase Program to more countries and now allows VPP purchases to be made via purchase order, important to large companies. Finally, Apple has also set up a new type of COPPA-compliant Apple ID for students under the age of 13.

Apple executives routinely tout adoption numbers of iOS devices by large companies in its quarterly earnings calls, and these updates should help assuage concerns in IT departments about rolling out large iOS device deployments. Much more information about deploying iOS devices is available on Apple's website.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 9 months ago
These tools are very nifty, especially Apple Configurator.

It was so awesome to watch 30 iPads simultaneously get updated to the latest iOS, get the same backup restored to all of them, and get a configuration profile installed that puts them all on our WiFi.... Without having to physically touch any of them beyond plugging them into the massive USB hub in the storage cart we bought.

When it was done, I grabbed a random iPad, and yep, it already had our lock screen image, was on WiFi, and had exactly the right apps installed.

Let's see you do that easily with Android.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 9 months ago

There are plenty of MDM tools to do this for Android devices. Cisco Meraki, AirWatch (http://www.air-watch.com/solutions/android), etc.

The whole point of the article is that Apple is finally catching up to what corporations need.

The biggest difference seems to be that Apple Configurator still requires a USB connection, and is limited to 30 devices at a time... whereas other MDMs can configure wirelessly.

The company I work for has deployed over ten thousand Android tablets in the last two years. They used Good and I believe it was a self-serve setup instead of making someone sit down and configure all the devices ahead of time. That also allows for BYOD.


Without specifically naming companies, I was part of the team behind MDM tools that people are using now in the industry. Let me tell you, to be able to make Android deployment as seamless as iOS deployment is a pita. Both iOS and android management can be done wirelessly. Yes, they're all self-served. You usually login to a "console", which is just a web page that connect with backend servers to manage your devices, sort of like a control panel.

If you mean iOS is playing catch up with the pc, then yes. If you mean iOS is playing catch up with android in this space, then No. iOS is way ahead of android in this space.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 9 months ago

These tools are very nifty, especially Apple Configurator.

It was so awesome to watch 30 iPads simultaneously get updated to the latest iOS, get the same backup restored to all of them, and get a configuration profile installed that puts them all on our WiFi.... Without having to physically touch any of them beyond plugging them into the massive USB hub in the storage cart we bought.

When it was done, I grabbed a random iPad, and yep, it already had our lock screen image, was on WiFi, and had exactly the right apps installed.

Let's see you do that easily with Android.


It can't be done with android. I used to work in Mobile Device Management in enterprise environment and it was a giant pita with android devices. No matter how customizable it is. Android is child play in MDM.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 8 months ago

There are plenty of MDM tools to do this for Android devices. Cisco Meraki, AirWatch (http://www.air-watch.com/solutions/android), etc.

The whole point of the article is that Apple is finally catching up to what corporations need.

The biggest difference seems to be that Apple Configurator still requires a USB connection, and is limited to 30 devices at a time... whereas other MDMs can configure wirelessly.

The company I work for has deployed over ten thousand Android tablets in the last two years. They used Good and I believe it was a self-serve setup instead of making someone sit down and configure all the devices ahead of time. That also allows for BYOD.


I dont' think your understanding what this is, as far as I know nothing like this exist for anything other than iOS now. When you buy devices from Apple, the admin imports your order number and those devices into Apple's Server and it talks to your local MDM. When a user takes the iOS device out of the box it auto connects to your MDM and settings are applied. The user didn't have to install a config profile off of a webpage, email, etc, nor did they have to be touched by anyone before hand. As far as I know no one else does this.

They way you are thinking most likely someone touched the device before hand or the user had to go to a website or something in order to install the config profile.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 9 months ago

Let's see you do that easily with Android.


There are plenty of MDM tools to do this for Android devices. Cisco Meraki, AirWatch (http://www.air-watch.com/solutions/android), etc.

The whole point of the article is that Apple is finally catching up to what corporations need.

The biggest difference seems to be that Apple Configurator still requires a USB connection, and is limited to 30 devices at a time... whereas other MDMs can configure wirelessly.

The company I work for has deployed over ten thousand Android tablets in the last two years. They used Good and I believe it was a self-serve setup instead of making someone sit down and configure all the devices ahead of time. That also allows for BYOD.
Rating: 1 Votes

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