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WWDC 2016: What's new for Apple management

WWDC 2016: What’s new for Apple management

Apple wrapped up another thrilling Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) last week in San Francisco where the company announced updates to their four major platforms. Check out our blog from last week for a recap of the features from the keynote.

Of course, WWDC doesn’t stop at the keynote. There were dozens of other sessions that outlined some of the technology behind these platforms and programs. Here is what we learned and how those changes can impact an IT pro managing Apple devices.

watchOS 3
Apple announced major performance improvements to the mobile operating system that runs on Apple Watch; these included the ability to open apps much faster and interact with other devices in a new way. This is great for consumers and should signal to organizations to extend their mobile app strategy to include Apple Watch, if they aren’t already. Also, Apple Watch will soon be able to unlock your Mac just by being within range of it. While Apple detailed how this is a very secure method for unlocking a Mac, if you are concerned about this feature, you will be able to disable it via MDM in the future.

tvOS 10
The updates to Apple TV’s operating system remained in the consumer realm, but it’s important to remember that this operating system is less than a year old and already Apple is adding rich features. This could be an important platform for business and education as they continue to open up the platform and accessories begin to work with the device. There were no new management features announced for tvOS this year.

macOS Sierra
The Macintosh operating system has a new name this year in macOS Sierra, and there are some great new features that users will be very excited about—Siri, Apple Pay, iCloud Drive updates and more. While there are great UI and features enhancements, there weren’t any major foundational changes (like last year’s System Integrity Protection) that impact management. Apple did preview the new Apple File System (APFS), which is designed to replace HFS+, but it won’t be fully rolled out until 2017; giving admins plenty of time to test the new system. New mobile device management (MDM) commands for macOS include the ability restrict new features like Apple Music, iCloud Photo Library, and Back to My Mac. Admins should have little issue rolling out macOS Sierra this fall.

iOS 10
The popular mobile operating system had some nice user interface changes and updates to how notifications on the lock screen are presented. IT admins will be happy to know that these new features—which presents data on the lock screen—can be disabled via MDM if they are worried about security. Other MDM enhancements to iOS 10 include the ability to deploy advanced VPN settings, deploy Google accounts for Mail, and configure Wi-Fi settings related to Cisco’s Fast Lane. The biggest change to iOS management is IT admins can now restrict users from modifying bluetooth settings, which was a major request from those who rely on bluetooth for iBeacons or the Classroom app. This MDM restriction is for supervised devices only, and will make management even easier.

Deployment programs
Finally, there were no major changes to the Device Enrollment Program (DEP), Volume Purchase Program (VPP) or Apple School Manager as Apple mainly recapped the enhancements made last year and in the iOS 9.3 release. This demonstrates the maturity and stability of these platforms, and Apple’s willingness to give organizations a chance to get on board and start taking advantage of the programs.

Next steps
If your organization has a developer account, then you can start downloading and testing the betas today on your network. Keep a close eye on JAMF Nation for beta updates to the Casper Suite and learn what other IT pros are doing to prepare for upgrading this fall. Reach out to JAMF Software to learn more about these new operating systems and how you can take advantage of the new management features.

For more Apple commentary from JAMF Software, check out the WWDC update with Nick and Tad.