About iOS 7's overhauled app licensing program (VPP)

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In iOS 7 VPP is all brand new. I haven't yet seen a demo of MDM that works with the new VPP system (I may on Monday). But here is how I understand it is all supposed to work.

The process still begins by visiting http://vpp.itunes.apple.com, searching for and purchasing apps. Before iOS 7 you would need to download a spreadsheet of redemption codes. Now there is nothing to download. Instead, the iTunes VPP store keeps a record of your purchases. Then...

  1. You use your MDM system to send VPP program invitations to your devices.
  2. You use MDM to register users with VPP
  3. MDM import your app catalog. This tells MDM which apps you have purchased and which, if any, licenses have been used.
  4. You use MDM to assign any unused licenses with users, and tell Apple about these associations
  5. You may now push out these apps to devices

The key here is step 4. When you associate the app "PCalc" with user "George Washington," Apple adds "PCalc" to George's App Store purchase history. George can now use PCalc on all his devices. What's more, George doesn't need to enter his Apple ID and password to download. After all, he's not purchasing it, he's just downloading it. There is, however, a confirmation on the device that George needs to accept. (On supervised devices there is no confirmation and the app installs silently.)

What's more, you can now use MDM to revoke an app from a user. This allows the institution to reassign PCalc to someone else, while allowing George a grace period. Pretty nifty.

If the entire process is much smoother, there are still some quirks. Not only does the institution not need the user's Apple ID to assign an app, Apple has seemingly bent over backwards to avoid revealing the Apple ID to the institution. Apple IDs are, apparently, private to Apple's relationship with the user.

Since this is merely a set of APIs I'm curious how MDM vendors implement it in different ways. Who will have the smoothest implementation?

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