Apple’s yearly Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was kicked off yesterday. Basically not possible to miss if you’ve visited any tech related web sites the past 24 hours I guess. As expected iOS 5 was presented along with the next release of OSX and the much hyped iCloud.
If you want to go through the entire keynote for all the details I’d recommend heading over to Engagdet – I’m certainly not able to cover it as extensively, nor is there any point in me doing so.
While you could say it’s a let down that the iPhone 5 will not be available until the fall they did at least release Beta 1 of iOS 5 to developers, so if you have an account with Apple you can at least start testing it out now. I happen to have access to the dev site, so I loaded up an iPad to see if there was anything included that would be of interest to us more enterprise minded folks.
I’m not saying it’s all going to blow your socks off, but there were a couple of improvements.
No iTunes for you!
One of my irritation moments with iOS is the need to tether new devices with iTunes to activate them. I am not a big fan of iTunes itself, and I see no technical reason why this is necessary. All other phone manufacturers are able to let you just insert a SIM and get online in a matter of moments if they like. And finally Apple is able to as well. Touting it as “finally PC free” sounds a bit over-ambitious, but that would be the usual Jobs style of presenting new features. The good thing? It really does work – I do not have to use any USB connection to get started. Which means I’d have no problems recommending a customer to not distribute iTunes to each and every workstation. I’m not saying iTunes should necessarily be verboten – each user to their own liking really, but I’m guessing a couple of users would appreciate this as well. And there’s OTA updates so you don’t have to use iTunes for upgrading the OS at a later point in time either. (You obviously have to use iTunes when you’re upgrading from iOS 4 first.)
The “restriction” that you need an Apple ID to load software onto the device still applies though, so if you have an MDM solution that requires a client to be installed on the device you still have to create an account for each individual user. (Can be done entirely on the device of course.) While it comes highly recommended (and highlighted) from Apple you can press “Skip” and use the basic functionality of the device.
Exchange is naturally still a supported mail solution – I ran a connection and found it to support ActiveSync version 14.0 (Exchange 2010 RTM).
This is perfectly OK for most I guess although the Exchange fetishist in me really would have loved it to be 14.1. (Don’t know if this will change in a later beta or the final release.) Synchronization still works as expected as far as I can tell.
A feature most end-users don’t care about, that has been a sort of pain point for some enterprises is the support for S/MIME or rather the lack thereof. I don’t know what took them so long, but the iGuys have now added support for this. Looks easy enough to configure as well:
You would still need to push the certificates to the device in some way. While iPhone Configuration Utility works for this purpose, it would also be possible to distribute from an MDM solution. If you have an MDM solution for managing the iPhones/iPads you might be pushing the Exchange configuration from server side. It would be a natural extension that you could also enable S/MIME through the same solution, but I do not know yet how that will work out. Haven’t seen it in any plain sight documentation yet, but I’d expect it to be an option once the MDM vendors get their stuff upgraded.
The rest of the things I noticed on my quick spin was not relevant in the perspective of this blog. I’ll have to dig to see if there are any more policies that can be enforced.
Now, we’ll just have to sit back for a couple of months and get ready for the next push of end-users demanding new iPhones