What IT Wants To See In iOS 6 [Feature]

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iOS 6 will deliver a lot of business features, but what about enterprise/IT integration?
iOS 6 will deliver a lot of business features, but what about enterprise/IT integration?

It’s been over two years since Apple unveiled iOS 4 with mobile management features designed to make the iPhone and iPad a significantly better corporate citizen. During those years, the landscape of business and enterprise mobility has changed dramatically. RIM has collapsed and will never truly recover, Microsoft has doubled down on the interface it launched late in 2010 with no guarantee of success, and Android has become much more enterprise friendly. Perhaps more important is the fact that idea of mobile management and security has shifted from a focus on devices to a focus on securing data and managing mobile apps.

As all this has happened, Apple’s mobile management framework, which is the system that all mobile management vendors plug into in order to secure and manage iOS devices, has essentially stagnated. With iOS 6 on the horizon, lets look at the areas that Apple needs to address if it wants iOS to remain one of the preferred mobile platforms for business.

Apple Is Still Failing When It Comes To Selling Apps To Businesses And Schools

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Apple's volume purchase program falls short for many schools and businesses.
Apple's volume purchase program falls short for many schools and businesses.

Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) is the company’s half-hearted attempt to deliver some form of enterprise licensing program for the iOS App Store. The program does make it marginally easier for businesses to bulk purchase and deploy apps to iPhones and iPads than telling employees to buy apps and then reimbursing them, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. As we reported earlier this summer, many businesses and school still feel Apple doesn’t meet their app purchase and deployment needs.

Mobile app management (MAM) vendor App 47 summed up some of the key issues and how it can help companies deal with them as part of the company’s summer lecture series on app management.

Apple Configurator Gets Quiet, Incremental Update

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Apple Configurator update brings stability and performance improvements, but few new management options.
Apple Configurator update brings stability and performance improvements, but few new management options.

Apple quietly updated its Apple Configurator utility that businesses and schools can use to manage iOS devices. The update brings with it relatively little new functionality to the free tool. Instead it focuses mainly on reliability and performance improvements. The update does, however, introduce some options for handling user content and user-installed apps.

Apple Reminds Teachers And IT Pros About Free Web iPad-In-Education Webcast Series

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Apple is offering free webcasts on using iPads, iBooks Author, and iTunes in education
Apple is offering free webcasts on using iPads, iBooks Author, and iTunes in education

One of the ways that working in education is different from almost any other industries is the annual summer break. The summer break let’s schools and districts tackle large projects in ways that simply aren’t possible in other fields. Deploying a brand-new network, building an expansion, and taking part in professional development programs are just a few examples.

With the end of the school year, Apple is taking the opportunity to remind schools and educators about a free professional development program that it’s offering. Called the Tune In Series, the program is a series of webcast events covering the iPad and many of the technologies that Apple introduced during its education event in January. The series is running every week through the end of August.

What IT Pros Want From An iTunes Revamp

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If Apple is planning a major iTunes update, IT pros have a few things on their iTunes/iOS wish list
If Apple is planning a major iTunes update, IT pros have a few things on their iTunes/iOS wish list

Various reports indicate that Apple is working on a major overhaul of iTunes that it plans to launch later this year. Those reports indicate that the update will be focused on consumer-oriented features like improved app/content discovery, music and media sharing, and greater iCloud integration. There’s also the possibility that Apple might split out some iTunes features into separate apps much like the company has done in iOS – the most recent example being the Podcasts app that it launched earlier this week.

Splitting iTunes into discrete parts is an attractive prospect, particularly for businesses and IT professionals. iTunes has become a bloated hodgepodge of functionality over the years. As a result, IT departments typically face a conundrum about whether to support or even allow employees with iOS devices to use iTunes on workplace computers.