Apple readying tools to simplify mass iOS device deployment and management

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2014
Apple's next free iOS 7 update is expected to fix bugs and enhance a variety of user interface elements, but fresh rumors claim the release -- supposedly coming in mid-March -- will also include a major overhaul of the Mobile Device Management mass deployment system and will launch alongside a totally new "Volume Services" Web client.

iOS Volume Services


An unverified source reported to AppleInsider that Apple is working with a select few MDM vendors and institutional clients on efforts to improve iOS managed deployment, and that those improvements are currently set to ship as part of iOS 7.1 "around March 15." While only a vague date was offered in regard to the release, the person did provide concrete information on Apple's mass device deployment initiative, including new never-before-seen features.

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.

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. For example, a school administrator would be able to set and lock device profiles, data and other information without risking deletion by the student.

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.

iOS 7 MDM


Similar to parental controls, MDM allows education, government and corporate organizations to centrally and securely configure fleets of mobile devices, including the installation of custom apps, setup profiles that grant access to the organizations' networks, and the enforcement of administrator designated restrictions such as turning off camera hardware or blocking access to websites or other app installations.

Improved Managed Deployment options are said to protect MDM-instituted profiles, a feature that would have come in handy with iPads deployed by the Los Angeles Unified School District as part of its technology in education initiative. Apple's Configurator was at least party to blame when students successfully bypassed the restrictions installed by administrators seeking to prevent them from accessing off-limits sites like Facebook and YouTube.

iOS 7.1 beta release history

Apple shipped a first beta of iOS 7.1 to its registered developers several weeks after the public release of iOS 7 in September. That was followed by a second beta in December, which included fixes for iTunes Match and a settings tweak for Touch ID. A third beta release in early January included fixes for iCloud account setup and audiobook playback.

A fourth beta in late January targeted a 'send failure' issues with iMessage, while a fifth beta added new "natural sounding" voices for Siri in Australian and British English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, as well as user interface enhancements.

iOS 7 82%


Less than five months after Apple released iOS 7, the company now notes on its developer website that 82 percent of App Store users have upgraded, with just 15 percent remaining on iOS 6. The original 2010 iPad and smartphones prior to iPhone 4 can't upgrade.

No other mobile platform vendor regularly delivers anything similar to Apple's free iOS updates to their users around the world, supporting hardware as much as three years old, and none can claim a similar installed base of tens of millions of users on the latest release of their software.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that a release of iOS 7.1 was slated for March 15th instead of 'around March 15th' or mid-March. The error has since been corrected.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    March 15 is a Saturday. I've never of any release of iOS or OSX landing on a weekend.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,454member

    The Ides of March. An omen?

  • Reply 3 of 32
    Was thinking about getting an iPad air, might have to do it before the update......jailbreaking is why.

    Will have to keep an eye on when it happens.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

    The Ides of March. An omen?

     

    Et tu, Android? Then fall, Google!

  • Reply 5 of 32
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    lkrupp wrote: »
    The Ides of March. An omen?

    Et tu, Kruppe?

    Edit: i thought of "Et tu . . ." first, but TS uses a real keyboard.
  • Reply 6 of 32

    "Apple's next free iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will fix bugs and enhance a variety of user interface elements"

     

    I wonder if this means that they will start making improvements to the UI which, of course, means putting color, spacing, contrast and definition back.  Probably not though.  And I wonder when they will start working on the odd things about IOS-7 which have simply never worked reliably like the ability to find and sort things in Reminders (one of the most powerful and underused of the Apps).  Oh well, I'm sure they wont get around to that either.  Maybe they will adjust things so that Apps, windows, entry boxes stop swooping and jumping all over the place (a feature which would impress children but is really irritating).  Oh well, I suppose that is not high on the priority either.  It is sure nice that the upgrades are free because they don't seem to contribute much to the usability ios-7.  

     

    When I call Apple (frequently) to see if these inconsistencies (the last time I submitted over three pages of stuff like this that should have been there at initial release) and faulty routines are actually my fault they tell me that, "My gosh...you're right...it really doesn't work on my device either...but it would sure be nice if it did."

     

    Oh well.  We can console ourselves that even though iOS-7 really does not work all that great, and that it is more difficult and slower to use, at least it has a clean and fresh look.  And the fans who believe that Apple can do no wrong can counsel me that, "You are just against change."

  • Reply 7 of 32
    Apple Configurator is shockingly bad, will be good to see the back of it, every time I've tried to use it for managed devices users can check them out a few times then the backup becomes corrupt and you have to wipe it and start again
  • Reply 8 of 32
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    Quote:

     

     

    Oh well.  We can console ourselves that even though iOS-7 really does not work all that great, and that it is more difficult and slower to use, at least it has a clean and fresh look.  And the fans who believe that Apple can do no wrong can counsel me that, "You are just against change."


     

    I won't say that you're just against change.  I also don't believe that Apple can do no wrong.  But I do like iOS7, and it seems to work fine for me.

  • Reply 9 of 32
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    sky king wrote: »
    "Apple's next free iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will fix bugs and enhance a variety of user interface elements"

    I wonder if this means that they will start making improvements to the UI which, of course, means putting color, spacing, contrast and definition back.  Probably not though.  And I wonder when they will start working on the odd things about IOS-7 which have simply never worked reliably like the ability to find and sort things in Reminders (one of the most powerful and underused of the Apps).  Oh well, I'm sure they wont get around to that either.  Maybe they will adjust things so that Apps, windows, entry boxes stop swooping and jumping all over the place (a feature which would impress children but is really irritating).  Oh well, I <span style="line-height:22px;">suppose that is not high on the priority either.  It is sure nice that the upgrades are free because they don't seem to contribute much to the usability ios-7.  </span>


    <span style="line-height:22px;">When I call Apple (frequently) to see if these inconsistencies (the last time I submitted over three pages of stuff like this that should have been there at initial release) and faulty routines are actually my fault they tell me that, "My gosh...you're right...it really </span>
    doesn't<span style="line-height:22px;"> work on my device either...but it would sure be nice if it did."</span>


    <span style="line-height:22px;">Oh well.  We can console ourselves that even though iOS-7 really does not work all that great, and that it is more difficult and slower to use, at least it has a clean and fresh look.  And the fans who believe that Apple can do no wrong can counsel me that, "You are just against change."</span>
    Wow I'm not sure what OS you're using but it's not the same one I'm using.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sky King View Post

     

    "Apple's next free iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will fix bugs and enhance a variety of user interface elements"

     

    I wonder if this means that they will start making improvements to the UI which, of course, means putting color, spacing, contrast and definition back.  Probably not though.  And I wonder when they will start working on the odd things about IOS-7 which have simply never worked reliably like the ability to find and sort things in Reminders (one of the most powerful and underused of the Apps).  Oh well, I'm sure they wont get around to that either.  Maybe they will adjust things so that Apps, windows, entry boxes stop swooping and jumping all over the place (a feature which would impress children but is really irritating).  Oh well, I suppose that is not high on the priority either.  It is sure nice that the upgrades are free because they don't seem to contribute much to the usability ios-7.  

     

    When I call Apple (frequently) to see if these inconsistencies (the last time I submitted over three pages of stuff like this that should have been there at initial release) and faulty routines are actually my fault they tell me that, "My gosh...you're right...it really doesn't work on my device either...but it would sure be nice if it did."

     

    Oh well.  We can console ourselves that even though iOS-7 really does not work all that great, and that it is more difficult and slower to use, at least it has a clean and fresh look.  And the fans who believe that Apple can do no wrong can counsel me that, "You are just against change."


     

    Truth be told, no one cares what you think. Just be glad this is a semi-open forum and you're allowed to express your opinion. Unfortunately, you lost me at, "Probably not" Which at that moment is exactly what I thought when I asked myself, "Is the rest of this post worth reading?"

  • Reply 11 of 32
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sky King View Post

     

    "Apple's next free iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will fix bugs and enhance a variety of user interface elements"

     

    I wonder if this means that they will start making improvements to the UI which, of course, means putting color, spacing, contrast and definition back.  Probably not though.  And I wonder when they will start working on the odd things about IOS-7 which have simply never worked reliably like the ability to find and sort things in Reminders (one of the most powerful and underused of the Apps).  Oh well, I'm sure they wont get around to that either.  Maybe they will adjust things so that Apps, windows, entry boxes stop swooping and jumping all over the place (a feature which would impress children but is really irritating).  Oh well, I suppose that is not high on the priority either.  It is sure nice that the upgrades are free because they don't seem to contribute much to the usability ios-7.  

     

    When I call Apple (frequently) to see if these inconsistencies (the last time I submitted over three pages of stuff like this that should have been there at initial release) and faulty routines are actually my fault they tell me that, "My gosh...you're right...it really doesn't work on my device either...but it would sure be nice if it did."

     

    Oh well.  We can console ourselves that even though iOS-7 really does not work all that great, and that it is more difficult and slower to use, at least it has a clean and fresh look.  And the fans who believe that Apple can do no wrong can counsel me that, "You are just against change."


     

    Truth be told, no one cares what you think. Just be glad this is a semi-open forum and you're allowed to express your opinion. Unfortunately, you lost me at, "Probably not" Which at that moment is exactly what I thought when I asked myself, "Is the rest of this post worth reading?"


    It is the greatest OS in the history of the world, and he acts like it is garbage.

  • Reply 12 of 32
    sky king wrote: »
    "Apple's next free iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will fix bugs and enhance a variety of user interface elements"

    I wonder if this means that they will start making improvements to the UI which, of course, means putting color, spacing, contrast and definition back.  Probably not though.  And I wonder when they will start working on the odd things about IOS-7 which have simply never worked reliably like the ability to find and sort things in Reminders (one of the most powerful and underused of the Apps).  Oh well, I'm sure they wont get around to that either.  Maybe they will adjust things so that Apps, windows, entry boxes stop swooping and jumping all over the place (a feature which would impress children but is really irritating).  Oh well, I <span style="line-height:22px;">suppose that is not high on the priority either.  It is sure nice that the upgrades are free because they don't seem to contribute much to the usability ios-7.  </span>


    <span style="line-height:22px;">When I call Apple (frequently) to see if these inconsistencies (the last time I submitted over three pages of stuff like this that should have been there at initial release) and faulty routines are actually my fault they tell me that, "My gosh...you're right...it really </span>
    doesn't<span style="line-height:22px;"> work on my device either...but it would sure be nice if it did."</span>


    <span style="line-height:22px;">Oh well.  We can console ourselves that even though iOS-7 really does not work all that great, and that it is more difficult and slower to use, at least it has a clean and fresh look.  And the fans who believe that Apple can do no wrong can counsel me that, "You are just against change."</span>

    For what it's worth, if you go into 'Settings', then 'General', then check out the section labeled 'Accessibility', there are a few adjustments you can make to text size, contrast and even the 'swoop-in' animations.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    How about all thos Safari crashes i' m constantly experiencing on my 32gb ipad air ? It's really annoying and quite frequently happens when zoom in.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    The Ides of March. An omen?


    I'm your vehicle, baby; I'll take you anywhere you wanna go...

  • Reply 15 of 32
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    If you have an Apple ID for iTunes different than your Apple ID for iCloud, iOS7 is a nightmare.
    And fix the sync issue w iPad 3's.
    And stop the Safari crashes.
    And redo Calender's GUI
  • Reply 16 of 32
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    sudonym wrote: »
    It is the greatest OS in the history of the world, and he acts like it is garbage.
    No it's not-Mavericks is.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    Et tu, Android? Then fall, Google!


    Very good! Funny, you don't strike me as a well read...

  • Reply 18 of 32
    rogifan wrote: »
    Wow I'm not sure what OS you're using but it's not the same one I'm using.

    I am certain he must be using Android skinned to look like iOS based on his description which explains his confusion. This explains the fascination Android fans have with customization - they want to emulate the iPhone as much as possible whereas the iPhone is the iPhone so there is nothing better to emulate.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    sky king wrote: »
    "Apple's next free iOS 7 update for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will fix bugs and enhance a variety of user interface elements"

    I wonder if this means that they will start making improvements to the UI which, of course, means putting color, spacing, contrast and definition back.  Probably not though.  And I wonder when they will start working on the odd things about IOS-7 which have simply never worked reliably like the ability to find and sort things in Reminders (one of the most powerful and underused of the Apps).  Oh well, I'm sure they wont get around to that either.  Maybe they will adjust things so that Apps, windows, entry boxes stop swooping and jumping all over the place (a feature which would impress children but is really irritating).  Oh well, I <span style="line-height:22px;">suppose that is not high on the priority either.  It is sure nice that the upgrades are free because they don't seem to contribute much to the usability ios-7.  </span>


    <span style="line-height:22px;">When I call Apple (frequently) to see if these inconsistencies (the last time I submitted over three pages of stuff like this that should have been there at initial release) and faulty routines are actually my fault they tell me that, "My gosh...you're right...it really </span>
    doesn't<span style="line-height:22px;"> work on my device either...but it would sure be nice if it did."</span>


    <span style="line-height:22px;">Oh well.  We can console ourselves that even though iOS-7 really does not work all that great, and that it is more difficult and slower to use, at least it has a clean and fresh look.  And the fans who believe that Apple can do no wrong can counsel me that, "You are just against change."</span>
    I love your post but perhaps I should write you a three page letter on how it can be improved.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Can't wait to have these crashes fi...

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