The end of IT? "Good riddance!"

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A notable response in ReadWriteWeb to last week's Computerworld article on the end of IT: "In the enterprise, IT can be a flat service that is self-serve for the people who have the right identity credentials. This may be what needs working on more than anything within the enterprise."

iPad 2 & iOS 4.3 Roundup

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Lots of iPad 2 news this week. As if you missed it. Here are some of the business-related articles that caught my eye.

I really enjoyed this article: Apple's iPad 2 provokes IT anxiety. Especially this bit:

Quote:

A company with workers using Apple products must either provide back-end support to a limited number of applications or reorganize their entire support model to meet Apple's way of doing business, Dulaney said.

Another option would be for companies to buy iPad 2s and other mobile devices from third-party integrators that would be charged with "doing their best to support Apple products." But, he added, such support "will always be limited."

I don't need to tell you, dear reader, how employees are pushing IT in ways we've never seen before. You are reading this because, well, employees are winning. (And maybe they are actually right!)

Eric Lai, who has gotten it for as long as anyone, says iPad 2 Will Continue the Enterprise Invasion Despite Delivering Zilch For Us.

Meanwhile, TUAW has a good roundup of what's new in iOS 4.3. The best bit for us iOS admins: the HDMI adapter is what's we've needed for presentations and training, and it works on the original iPad and iPhones too.

My company shipped a custom deployment of 335 iPads this week, just in time for the revision! I certainly hope iOS 4.3 and the new iTunes set the stage for easier deployment, but at this time changes are unknown.

MDM Comparison updated with official AirWatch details.

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Our popular Comparison of MDM Providers has been updated to include official data from AirWatch, who was kind enough to help us out.

iOS Reference Updated

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We've updated our reference of iOS Devices to include the announcements of the week. This compact guide includes minimum and (if known) maximum versions of iOS for all devices, plus links to Apple's spec sheets.

Compare 7 iOS Mobile Device Management providers by 90 criteria; now includes BoxTone

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Mobile Device Management is the best way to track, configure, and manage iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices. Although it is a lot of infrastructure for one or two phones, it becomes a necessity when you are administering more than a dozen or so devices. (Save yourself a lot of trouble and introduce the technology NOW.)

But choosing a provider can be difficult, since at first glance they all seem to do a similar job. This is why we created our Comparison of MDM Providers. We're happy to announce the inclusion of provider BoxTone, thanks to the help of Dan Dearing.

We sincerely hope that our comparison helps you choose between the many fine vendors. The list now includes:

  • 7 providers
  • 21 sections
  • 90 points of comparison

Please send us feedback on ways to improve the comparison.

iPad: One Year

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One year ago today, Steve Jobs announced the iPad. Although it didn't begin shipping until April 3, it became one of the best-selling technology products of the year.

So does your company have plans to deploy the iPad this year? Or have you already got them?

MDM Provider Absolute Manage Fills in our Blanks

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Mobile Device Management provider Absolute Manage has sent updated features for our 74-point Comparison of MDM Providers. Thanks to Absolute's Pam Seale for putting this data together.

She wants me to mention that the chart is current as of MDM 5.3. Absolute is getting an upgrade in mid-February, adding an app catalog and VPP features. We'll update our chart when it ships.

(If you would like an MDM Provider included on the chart, please copy and fill out our MDM Worksheet, even partially. Then E-mail it to me, and I'll add it to the chart.)

Equinux TARMAC gains MDM features

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Equinux has updated TARMAC, it's Mobile Device Management solution for iOS. And they were kind enough to send the worksheet for our Comparison of MDM Providers.

You can find out more about TARMAC on our comparison page or at equinux.com.

Our 74-point Comparison of Mobile Device Management Providers

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You can't manage dozens, hundreds, or thousands of iOS devices without Mobile Device Management. Of the many providers, each provides the same basic features: inventory, mobileconfig, and basic management. So is there a difference among providers?

You betcha. From packaging, licensiing, support, scalability, enrollment and administration, the providers vary significantly. Some only manage mobile devices; others manage desktops. Some are only in the cloud, others are only in your data center.

Today we've re-released our Comparison of MDM Providers to include a full 74 points of reference. We hope it will serve to cut through the hype and help you make smart decisions.

Five vendors are included to start: Absolute Mange, Airwatch, Casper, Mobile Iron and McAfee EMM. We'll be adding others and filling in the gaps as we learn more. Your can help: edit the page (it is a wiki), or add comments, or E-mail me.

[Disclaimer: My employer Tekserve is a reseller of Casper and Airwatch (and we'd love to sell it to you!). Still, my goal is to maintain a chart that is as complete and unbiased as possible.]

iPhone coming to Verizon in early February

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Who would have expected this? Oh right, everyone.

Yes, after months, even years, of expectation and rumors, Verizon Wireless has announced that the iPhone is coming to Verizon early next month. This will be a CDMA iPhone that is also GSM capable (for world travel), 3G (not the faster 4G LTE network), and with the same browse-or-talk-not-both limitation of all CDMA devices. But it does have a built-in hotspot to reshare the 3G connection with up to 5 other devices on WiFi. (Of course the hotspot dies when you get a phone call!)

Verizon has posted a helpful FAQ on the launch. No plans or pricing yet.

Does this affect your company's plans?

The Weekly EiOS 1.10.11

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Happy New Year, everyone.

InfoWorld's #1 tech sleeper story of 2010? Apple quietly became a key enterprise provider. (I'm not so sure it was quiet, since Uncle Walt called the iPad the best product of the year.)  

Meanwhile, it seems every electronics company is trying to catch up. Forrester comes back from CES coining a new acronym: ABi (Anything But iPad), and an understanding of how difficult it will be to catch up with Apple. And I hear 2011 is, once again, the Year of the Tablet.

The US Army is testing 1-to-1 deployments, with both iPhones and Android, healthcare iPad deployments are accelerating, and Macworld discusses how companies are
developing enterprise apps for consumer devices. Finally, when developing those apps, be sure to avoid unkosher GPLv2 code.

Look forward to a reworking of our Comparison of MDM Providers and other wiki updates this week.

A history of iOS devices and versions

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We've compiled a list of iOS hardware and software versions for your reference. The table includes each device, introduction date, minimum and maximum iOS versions. Please help us keep it up-to-date.

An extensive review of AirWatch

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Lisa Phifer has published an extensive review on AirWatch for iOS Mobile Device Management. (It is notable that she reports the common limitations of all iOS MDM technology at this time.)

New iPhone Configuration Utility excludes original iPhone and iPod touch

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More discoveries about the updated iPhone Configuration Utility: A little box in Apple's iPCU documentation notes:

Quote:

Note: Configuration profiles created with iPhone Configuration Utility 3.2 or later are for use only with devices that have iOS 4.2 or later.

Take a look at our table of iOS Devices to see the significance: the original iPhone and the original iPod touch max out at iOS 3.1.3. So the latest version of iPCU can't manage these devices.

I expect Mobile Device Management providers to follow suit and drop support for these original iOS devices in short time.

F5 VPN

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The iPhone Configuration Utility 3.2 included support for F5 SSL VPNs. Like other SSL VPNs (Juniper or Cisco AnyConnect), an iTunes Store App is required, in this case the BIG-IP Edge Client.

The iPCU can be configured with the default settings for the BIG-IP Edge Client. In addition, VPN On-Demand can be configured to automatically connect the SSL VPN client when certain domains are requested. For more information see the developer documentation on iPCU.

Related F5 KB Articles

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