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IT will have a love-hate relationship with iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and iCloud

Ryan Faas | June 17, 2013
With updated OSes and iCloud, Apple will please some, annoy others

App Configuration Management — Apple could be aiming at two different areas with this feature. It could be a reference to app management (automatic install, delete on command, blacklist public apps in the App Store), which would be an extension of current mobile device management (MDM) capabilities. Or it could mean allowing IT to actually define settings for managed apps. Apple has allowed management of Mac app settings for several years now. Given that iOS and Mac apps both tend to store settings as XML data, it's conceivable that Apple is planning to extend full pre-configuration to iOS apps as well. If it does, it may follow the Mac strategy of allowing administrators to just pre-set apps (and then let users change those settings) or permanently configure them in a way that bars any changes.

Streamlined MDM enrollment — Until now, Apple has generally left MDM enrollment to MDM vendors. Different vendors have taken varied approaches to enrollment, but the most common is a free app that users download from the App Store. On first launch, they're asked to enter their enterprise credentials. Apple could significantly streamline this process by providing a unified enrollment method that includes auto-discovery capabilities. A universal method could allow Apple to simply add an extra step in the iOS setup dialog that asks users whether they want to authenticate to a management server. That could mean entering server information (though Apple might employ some type of auto-discovery of available servers) along with enterprise credentials and opting in to any managed settings assigned to that individual. That would make for a very simple out-of-the-box experience that shouldn't require any real IT intervention. Even if Apple chooses not go this route, it could create a universal management setup app or an option in the Settings app.

Enterprise Single Sign-on — Single sign-on is a standard part of enterprise computing. When you sit down at your office PC in the morning and enter your Active Directory credentials, you can access a number of applications and corporate resources without re-authenticating. By extending that capability to iOS devices, Apple will definitely streamline user workflows. The extent to which Apple will integrate this feature with MDM or mobile app management (MAM) isn't clear, but it's worth noting that Apple has already implemented variations of single sign-on in iOS — most notably the ability to configure Facebook and Twitter settings and then access those accounts from virtually any app through a share sheet or the Notification Center. Apple might go so far as to extend this support allowing multiple enterprise accounts, such as for consultants and contractors that could benefit from single sign-on to their company systems or their clients' systems.

 

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