Unpacking WWDC 2023
Kat Garbin and Sean Rabbitt started things out by introducing Aaron Webb, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Security.
"It's a small but mighty product marketing team that we have at Jamf," says Webb. "We put together a lot of presentations, we help out with marketing assets and collateral, our go-to-market messaging- all the events that you might go to."
So, which of the updates and new features are people most excited about at Jamf?
“I love my Apple Watch,” says Webb.“ ”It's such a great device, has so many different unique functionalities; that's something that I'm really excited about.”
Webb believes that watchOS management is going to be a game changer for the industry, considering the features they have built for consumers. “It’s something that I'm really excited that they finally brought it into the management platform as well,” says Webb, and sees Jamf management of Apple Watch as an excellent opportunity for Jamf’s customers.
Fixing the ‘swearing problem’ and strong privacy protections
Co-host Kat Garbis, Senior Channel Program Manager, celebrates an update that makes her laugh out loud. “I never expected in my life,” says Garbis, “[to see] an executive at Apple say, ‘yeah, we're going to fix the swearing problem.’”
That’s right. Now, if you’re texting a friend and you meant to cuss, Apple will no longer change certain words to the names of farm animals.
“That that kind of made my morning,” laughed Garbis. “What a time to be alive!”
All kidding aside, the new features and updates that Garbis particularly appreciates are those that raise the bar on security and the Mac platform as a whole:
- Safari’s private browsing update that requires facial recognition to access private browsing
- Intelligent Tracking Prevention with reports on attempted trackers
- Secure password sharing over an end-to-end encryption channel with iCloud keychain
New MacBook Air
Co-host Sean Rabbitt, Senior Consulting Engineer, Identity, believes the new 15-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip may need to be in his near future. The large 18-hour battery life is, as Rabbitt says, “a big Twinkie.”
For those who, like Rabbitt, travel a great deal for their jobs, a battery of that size can make the difference when away from reliable charging stations or when moving quickly doesn’t allow time for charging.
“I think that it could really be a game-changer for folks that are international travelers,” says Rabbitt, “or even those with kids who already have laptops, use them for school and then forget to plug them in before they go to school the next day.”
“Sorry, no excuse,” Rabbitt laughs. “You gotta your homework still. You have too much battery life. So good luck.”
As someone who is often traveling, Aaron Webb appreciates the extra real estate. “I’ve been away from my home office where I've got a really good setup,” says Webb, “if I can get away by going on a quick trip to Europe and not having to take different adapters, that would be great.”
Same-day support = early adoption
”I would say that, especially around Apple, I feel like we were the cool kids on the block.” says Kat Garbis. “We started this whole thing of being ready for same-day support. And for those who are newer listeners, basically any time there is an update or major OS release, Jamf is ready that same day with the capabilities, making sure that the Mobile Device Management (MDM) connection doesn't break and it's just seamless.”
Importance of day-zero support
If your MDM doesn’t offer true same-day support, you might find yourself asking users to refrain from tech updates, because without day-zero support, updating an OS or app might break something else that hasn’t been optimized for the update.
That’s why Jamf ensures that those things don't break.
We at Jamf pride ourselves on being completely optimized for Apple updates and new features from the day they are available. Our close and trusted relationship with Apple gives us access to updates before they are released, which gives us time to test and optimize— so that you can update what you want immediately.
With Jamf, “you know that your users can update to iOS 17, they can update to Mac OS and know that those devices and workflows just don't break,” says Aaron Webb. “At the end of the day, you want to be able to update. We know that Apple users want to have the latest operating systems. They are used to doing that on their home technology, so they want the same in their business technology.”
Updating immediately is absolutely vital protection from security vulnerabilities.
Older software versions are simply less secure. Using an MDM that is ready from day one can ensure your system doesn’t fall prey to data breaches or system vulnerabilities simply because their devices are outdated.
In Sean Rabbitt’s travels, he has spoken with many people about their endpoint security systems, some of which “would advise you not to upgrade to the latest version of the operating system for X number of days because, you know, maybe they're incompatible.” Engineers have reported needing to ”talk to [their] security company and give them the CV list that the new operating system in the new update protects against and then say, okay, how does your security tool cover specifically these CV's?”
“When Apple releases a new operating system, they're going through a list of security updates, essentially, there's an awful lot of security bundled into this OS at this point.” says Rabbitt.
You need assurance that everything is compatible from day one.
Apple security 'hotness'
Segmented browsing history
“What's really interesting for me,” says Webb, “was the profiles that now allow segmented browsing history to be selected— websites with your web credentials to keep your personal browsing history separate from your business profile as well.”
Security interweaved with privacy protections
A theme emerged this WWDC connecting many security updates with privacy updates and personalization, as well. “There was quite a bit packaged into that,” says Webb. “We're still going into it and digging into it . . . [to] really see where that weaves into all the different products and how it comes out in the next few releases before full release.”
Passkeys: paving the way toward passwordless devices?
“Being the identity guy nerd that I am,” says Rabbitt, “I'm actually excited about . . . these pass keys for corporate and organizational use is actually looking like a game changer. “It looks like if you haven't already set up managed Apple IDs for your organization, number one, you need to do that yesterday and start testing on that right away because that's going to be the hotness.”
“It also looks like an organization that is trying to implement passkeys and getting a passwordless system in place will be able to say that passkeys for your organization are only allowed on managed devices,” continues Rabbitt. “Where ‘managed’ doesn't necessarily need to be on institutionally-owned devices, but just on managed devices like a personal phone.” This means that phones that have gone through account-driven user enrollment, regardless of who owns the device, would have passkeys. “There is some nifty security inside there,” says Rabbitt, “that might be a little bit of stab toward the passwords in the future to finally, finally go start going away.”
”One of the things that are standing out for me,” says Kat Garbis, ”. . . is identity updates. When I think of endpoint security and when I think of any time Apple has new hardware releases in addition to the operating system updates . . . historically I've seen other solutions . . . that aren't same-day ready. And from a security lens, how are we going to help customers and those using Jamf from an endpoint security perspective with some of these updates as well as same-day support?”
”We pride ourselves on being Apple first, Apple best,” says Webb. “We are the people that are focused on Apple. We have got a great team . . . and when these announcements come out we are just building on what Apple already provides. When Apple innovates, Jamf celebrates.”
Webb also believes that managed IDs will benefit the healthcare industry enormously. “Especially when doctors or consultants need to just quickly glance on their enrolled echo device or their watch,” says Webb.
Jamf Threat Labs
Apple devices are gaining a much larger market share, especially in the enterprise. Naturally, bad actors are now attacking Apple devices specifically. That’s why Jamf security goes beyond our products. The Jamf Threat Labs team hunts threats that prey on Apple-specific vulnerabilities, and we share what we learn with Apple.
“What we're doing in our research gets fed back to Apple and comes out in an update as well,” says Webb. “So we're constantly . . . making sure that everyone who chooses to use Apple is safe and secure.
"When Apple releases new operating systems and they announce new features, you've got to work with every single vendor to make sure that those things aren't going to break,” says Webb.
Organizations working with vendors that are not Apple-focused need to be particularly careful when it comes to updates and vendor readiness.
That’s why vendor consolidation makes sense: not only from a cost perspective but also from a security and user-experience perspective. “Through a lens of Trusted Access, something that we very much speak about a lot,” says Webb, “you can just go from jump and check the platform to manage and secure your devices.” With one vendor, continues Webb, “You just need to make one phone call. That makes it so much easier when that release does drop.” You’re not going out to multiple security vendor to see what they support and what they don’t. Moving everything to Jamf means you’ll have a solution with an entire stack that supports Apple.
Apple ID testing
Those who would like to get a jump on testing themselves with managed ID can visit AppleSeed and log in with your Managed Apple ID or with your Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager credentials. There, you’ll have access to all the betas— not only on Mac OS but also for iOS, watchOS and tvOS.
“Get into those programs,” says Rabbitt. “Start giving feedback right away. Good feedback tells us both . . . not just what physically went wrong and what you'd like, but also tells the story of why you want [features or improvements].”
“Everyone's mentioned Vision Pro, I've said it once before;” says Aaron Webb. “Vision Pro in the future of work and I think it's beautiful. I think it's amazing.”
“When [Apple releases something], it's very well defined and it's a beautiful product,” continues Webb. “I think it's one of the most exciting WWDC things that we've seen that is really going to change the future of work and education and healthcare.”
“We saw it when the iPhone released, and we've seen what that's going to be,” says Webb. “This is at a point now that we’re seeing the future of . . . spacial computing, a new terminology that's been coined by Apple. And it's super exciting.”
“It almost feels,” says Kat Garbis, ”like when we learned about the iPod for the first time or the iPad for the first time. I feel like we got to experience that once again when they announced the Vision Pro. It's exciting to see that, basically, we'll have a computer over our glasses.”
The business potential for Apple TV, FaceTime and Maps
Aaron Webb travels enough to see exactly how Vision Pro could benefit plane travelers with an immersive entertainment experience. He has also used his iPhone camera to use face time on an Apple TV in order to reconnect with family or with work. “The ability to manage an Apple TV— that, Jamf has for a while; we support it. But I think there are so many use cases for an Apple TV in all industries with digital signage, and in education with the ability to use them in the classroom.”
“So there was so much in this announcement in the main keynote,” says Webb, “that was a nod to industry workflows, to education, to health care, to enterprise, that we haven't seen in as much detail before. And I think that's super exciting for the future of work and the future of teaching and learning going forward.”
”I guess on a personal note,” says Kat Garbis, “I'm also excited for FaceTime to allow me to leave a recorded message. I think, Sean, you can expect me to leave some recorded FaceTime missed call messages for you, or even some of the other things like offline maps that took me down memory lane.
Garbis is also pleased with the ability to download maps for offline use, which comes in handy for those on an airplane who wish to preplan.
Looking ahead to JNUC
”It's going to be a very, very interesting Jamf Nation User Conference this year,” says Sean Rabbitt. “I have to say, you know, we're enthusiastic with just the three of us, but wow, can you imagine an entire conference filled with our fellow nerds that are going to be this excited! This is going to be interesting. It's going to be an interesting year.”
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