The ever changing face of Apple Education

APLEveryone who knows me knows that I’ve got a bit of an obsession with all things Apple but one thing that does slightly irritate me about the iOS ecosystem so that it can change drastically with a new update and very little notice.

I have sole responsibility for managing iOS devices in our school, with the numbers currently sitting at 73 iPads, 4 iPods and 3 Apple TVs, which I managed with a combination of Apple Configurator and Meraki MDM. We’re not currently enrolled in the Apple VPP program which give us some challenges not faced by other schools but we’ve managed to overcome them so far.

The release of iOS 9.1 brought the ability to roll out free apps through Meraki without touching the devices which led me to collect the iPads from staff and begin to update the software and settings on them (some of which are still running iOS 6.1!!!)

The latest Apple announcement is that iOS 9.3 will give Education even more control over the devices, allowing students to personalise their device by logging in with their AD credentials. I’m not sure how this will work in practice, e.g. will it require AD synchronisation or is that feature optional, will the students require their own school issued Apple IDs? There’s a lot of questions that will need to be answered before I decide to collect all of the devices in and upgrade them again.

I know that Apple have a pretty strict NDA in place with their staff and developers, however it would be really useful if there was a process in place to allow Education IT Managers prior knowledge of updates to allow for more effective ICT planning.