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Timeline: How Apple's iOS gained enterprise cred

Ryan Faas | July 18, 2014
When Apple's iPhone arrived in '07, it was aimed squarely at the consumer market; so was its OS.

Apple launched iOS 4 a couple of months later with an extensive mobile management framework that allowed true over-the-air management and the ability to remotely wipe devices without relying on Exchange ActiveSync. In a surprise move, Apple opted not to build its own enterprise management server for iOS devices and allowed third-party companies to development their own management solutions. The move helped jump start the enterprise mobility management (EMM) market we know today.

2011: iOS 5, which launched alongside the iPhone 4S and Siri, included another handful of enterprise management additions, including the ability disable Siri and iCloud as well as set limits on voice and data roaming. The biggest enterprise move, however, was the launch of Apple's Volume Purchase Program, which allowed companies to bulk purchase apps from the App Store and distribute them to users. The program was far from perfect with its Achilles heel being that app distribution transferred ownership of the app to the user; that meant companies would have to re-purchase the app if a user left the company.

2012: This was another year with multiple enterprise milestones for iOS.

Early in the year, Apple launched Apple Configurator, a free utility that allowed for the configuration of multiple iOS devices and app distribution. Along with this utility, which was Mac-only and required devices to be connected by USB, Apple introduced the concept of "supervised devices" -- a moniker that provided greater management of a device than MDM. These features grew in iOS 6 and 7 and were designed to provide greater control over devices that are institutionally owned.

iOS 6 arrived with still moe enterprise mobility features. Apple also launched the third-generation iPad, the first iOS device to feature LTE connectivity. Apple later in the year introduced the iPhone 5, the iPad mini, and a fourth-generation iPad, all of which could support LTE networks and all of which used Apple's new Lighting connector.

Apple also began allowing for the configuration of Apple TV devices deployed in business and education settings.

2013: This year saw the biggest iOS enterprise gains since iOS 4 launched in 2010.

The biggest news was iOS 7. In addition to completely revamping the look and feel of the OS, iOS 7 delivered a host of new enterprise capabilities, including the separation of work and personal content; automatic data security features for all apps; enterprise single sign-on; per-app VPN; managed app configuration; silent app update and installation; and the ability to configure AirPlay and AirPrint settings.

Apple introduced the iPhone 5s and Touch ID as well as the A7 chip. In addition to being a 64-bit chip, the A7, which also powered the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display, includes the Secure Enclave, a powerful encryption and security component used by Touch ID and other security components of iOS 7.


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