Apple announces business feature updates for iOS7

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Apple announces business feature updates for iOS7

Caroline Baldwin

Apple has revealed a number of business offerings in its latest operating system update, iOS7.

iOS7, which will be available this autumn, will offer Mobile Device Management (MDM) functionalities, as well as security updates and App Store license management capabilities.

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Apple has taken into consideration the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and provided software updates to help IT departments in rolling out iPhones and iPads into a business ecosystem.

The update will include new MDM configuration options allowing IT departments to enrol devices into existing business MDM solutions. This will ensure that devices are configured with corporate settings and are in-line with predefined policies.

Additionally, IT will be able to manage devices over the air, providing easy control of large fleets of devices. It will also allow IT to wirelessly set up managed apps, install custom fonts, configure AirPrint printers and whitelist AirPlay destinations.

iOS7 will also introduce the App Store Volume Purchase Program (VPP), providing businesses the opportunity to assign apps to Apple phones while keeping control and ownership over the licences. IT will be able to purchase app licences from Apple and use an MDM solution to assign apps to employees over the air, apps can also be revoked and reassigned to other employees.

Stricter control will now also be placed on documents viewed on an Apple device, using Apple’s Managed Open In functionality. Corporates will be able to protect their data by stating which apps and accounts can be used to open certain documents and attachments. This could ensure that work documents are kept within corporate apps.

Rob Bamforth principal analyst at Quocirca said that taking control of data and content is now more important than being able to control the hardware.

“Rather than focusing on the device (MDM), Managed Open In focuses on apps and content,” said Bamforth.

“This is more about securing the use to which these tools are put, than the tools themselves. This is particularly important in a world of IT corporations and BYOD. That sort of hybrid world you can’t look at pinning down things you used to pin down in old fashioned IT.”

iOS7 will also introduce the App Store Volume Purchase Program (VPP), providing businesses the opportunity to assign apps to Apple phones while keeping control and ownership over the licences. IT will be able to purchase app licences from Apple and use an MDM solution to assign apps to employees over the air, apps can also be revoked and reassigned to other employees.

Apple will also allow apps to connect automatically to a virtual private network (VPN) when launched, ensuring that corporate data will travel only through a VPN.

Additionally iOS7 will also improve its Mail configurations for business email accounts and provide enterprise single sign on (SSO) and additional data protection within corporate apps.

iPhone and iPad users will find that the iOS7 updates will be a complete overhaul of the user interface. Announced at the beginning of June, general updates will include features such as enhancements to multi-tasking, imaging, browsing and sharing.

iOS7 will also feature iCloud Keychain, a security design for storing passwords and credit card information securely.

While Apple’s announcement at the beginning of the month emphasised innovation, competitors and some analysts suggested it has done merely what it needs to do to keep up with the market.

 


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