Configurator Makes Big Improvements To Business/School iOS App Management

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Pre-loading apps using Configurator
Pre-loading apps using Apple Configurator

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  • Connor Mulcahey

    This isn’t good enough.

    There should be 3 versions of the Apple ID. One for businesses and schools, one for individual consumers, and one for families.I’ll start with the family because that is what I’d be using. As with most families, we share an Apple ID for the household. Each of us have our own Macs and iPhones, and there is an iPad for the family and I also have my own (I’m 16 and bought it myself, as with all my other Apple Gear). iCloud, while the idea is great, is a nightmare for families. My whole family takes advantage of the iCloud account that is tied to the Apple ID, which results in unwanted content and downloads on each of our devices. For example, in the pages section of our iCloud, there is an in-navigable list of documents that all of of us have uploaded. The folders are useless if we can’t have folders within folders (It may make sense for apps, but documents?). I have my school notes, my brothers and documents and a few documents about Justin Bieber which belong to my sister. Similarly, There are hundreds of photos of Justin Bieber and pandas in the photo-stream. I also have Justin Bieber music that downloads itself, awesome! Finally, all our contacts overlap. My sister was annoyed that my contacts were on her phone and deleted ALL of them from the iCloud which removed them from all my devices! I didn’t expect her to know that would happen, so I don’t blame her. I blame the poor organization of iCloud. You might be thinking: “Just turn off the syncing in settings and you won’t have to worry about it,” but that would defeat the purpose of iCloud. I want to be able to sync stuff across my own devices, but not with everyone else’s! There is a simple solution to this: have one family ID with a sub-identity for each family member. Each identity would have its own iCloud (Apple could still limit the whole family to 5 gigs if they felt it necessary). One would then choose which identities to sync the content from in settings and only that content would appear on my device. That way, I could sync my own documents between my own devices without Justin Bieber getting in my way. At the same time you may, in some cases, want to share content between family members. I like to have my mom’s iTunes library sync with mine because we have similar taste in music, but don’t want have a bunch of Justin Bieber music synced to my library. Same thing goes for photos. So in the settings for my apple sub-identity I would tell my cloud to take all the music from my mom’s library and copy it to mine, but not allow any of my little sisters in. I could do this selective syncing with anything. Contacts, calendars, email address, bookmarks, music, videos, reminders, etc. that may be attatched to my personal iCloud and choose to copy content from other family members of my choice. The idea is to keep be able to purchase or create content under the same ID so it shares the licensing between family members, but keeps that content separated and organized to each individual’s preferences while still maintaining the ability to share content with your immediate family. That way, you could still view everyone’s content on a shared device like an Apple TV or family iMac (hey, when you login to an account on the iMac it could even show only your iCloud content!). Parents could also manage parental controls from their sib-ID accounts to keep their children from doing whatever. The individual one would be coupled to an iCloud’s account and the username would be the iCloud email address (or opt out of an iCloud email and use your preferred email). The ID and the iCloud account would be one in the same so the iCloud would sync your preferred data across all your devices without any complications, seamless and accessible like Apple is currently marketing it as, but doesn’t yet function quite like that. I am not an individual user so I don’t know that problems they are experiencing. THe best person to rethink how it should work would be the one who is experiencing the problems first hand.For the business or education account type the IT people would be able to manage the privileges of different classes of their audience. Each employee/student could have their own iCloud account and ID to sync things across their devices and to be able to differentiate content between others. The IT people could give their audience as much freedom or limitation as necessary. A principle would have more capability than a regular teacher who would still have more capability than a student. It would work the same for the hierarchy of a company. The whole enterprise would share one Apple ID for licensing apps and other content. For example Stanford would have it’s own ID to license apps to their med students’ iPads (the only way to get a device that base these licenses would be if the IT manager granted it privilege through Configurator), but each student could download their own content under their personal iCloud account which it subordinate to the Stanford account. Hell, they could eve make it so Stanford could give student discounts on specific apps when the app store noticed their iCloud ID’s were part of the Stanford mega-ID. The idea behind this is similar to that of families only with more features and a lot more sub-ID members which could be classified with different privileges. Finally, I think iWork needs a lot of work. You need to be able to save documents to iCloud right from the app on the desktop version, so that they never even touch your hard disk if you prefer. Also the iOS version is missing a lot of core features like sub-script and turning off “Object causes wrap.” There is a lot more that needs to be done with iWork but I won’t mention it here. This comment is long enough, if you took the tome to read this please leave a response. BTW I have had this typed up in Evernote for a while; didn’t spend half an hour typing a comment.

  • Beth Andrews

    Does the Configurator maintain folders for the iPads? For example, if I have all “News-related” items in a News folder, when I use Configurator to synch, will these items stay in the News folder on all iPads?