The iPad and iPhone have both been extremely popular devices in enterprise and education, and Apple's most recent changes are directed at those markets. Recently it made changes to its Device Enrolment Program, Volume Purchase Program, and Apple ID for Student Service, and provided new reference guides to provide help for the mass purchase of apps and pushing out large numbers of iOS devices to users, according to Tech Crunch.
Historically, Windows has been more popular in enterprise because of its better remote installation and configuration support. Apple seems to be closing the gap.
Both the enterprise and education programs now have support for Mobile Device Management hands-free configuration. This ‘zero touch’ setup has been a long-requested feature for many pros, as it eliminates the need to cable up every deployed device and install a profile via Apple’s Configurator utility.
IT departments can order pre-configured devices directly from Apple, manage them remotely, and lock down devices so end users are unable to remove or alter the profiles. Such a strategy reduces the burden to IT departments during device deployment and reduces the possibility that user will muck up the device settings. In fact, users' own devices can be conformed to any given system with a simple opt-in option.
Mobile device management (MDM) was allegedly a problem for schools, specifically the Los Angeles School District. The school system's iPad program was followed by a highly publicized hacking scandal. The iPads had to be recalled when "students were found deleting the enrolment profiles on their devices" - thereby allowing them to browse the internet freely and install unapproved apps.
Apple has also made changes to its Apple ID system by implementing IDs for students under 13 years of age.
These IDs will let younger students receive apps or textbooks purchased for them, use iTunes U, and sync content via iCloud, but they come with a number of limitations not enforced for standard Apple IDs. Students will not be able to change their account settings to alter their e-mail address or date of birth, an iCloud Mail account is not created for the student by default, the Limit Ad Tracking feature is enabled by default, students won't be able to opt-in to receive marketing messages from Apple, no credit card is required to use the account, and parents are automatically notified any time the terms of service change.
Apple's changes are timely, since many enterprises (especially those in the Fortune 500) and education institutions are interested in rolling out mobile devices to their users. Apple's iPad (and iPhone) have been pretty dominant as alternatives to Windows-based PCs, but Google's Chromebook platform has been catching up. Android devices are also an allure due to their lower price tag. Tools that facilitate easy deployment and allow for customizability from the user-end, without wrecking profile settings, will no doubt be very attractive to companies and schools.