Another September means another overhaul of Apple’s iPhone lineup. You may be pondering whether you want that thousand-dollar iPhone X or not.

But let’s not forget that Apple ensures the holiday season comes early, even for users of older iPhones and iPads. What’s even better for our audience is that Apple descends from the pedestal, carrying gifts for IT pros who need to manage mobile devices in fleets of all shapes and sizes.

Indeed, Apple delivers their updated mobile platform, iOS 11, and all subsequent feature and security updates to iOS devices with a 64 bit A7 System on a Chip or later. That includes the iPhone 5s and later, and also the iPad Mini 2 and later. As we’ve discussed in our recent exposé of the Android ecosystem, this five-year support lifecycle is one of the major upsides Apple offers.

So, what’s up with iOS 11 feature-wise? Ars Technica’s thorough review might be the definitive resource, but we’ll breeze through the important points for users and administrators alike.

 

Apple iPhone X

Some say the iPhone X is an attempt to jack up the average selling price of iPhones as sales are plateauing, and that the phone is packed with well established technologies, such as inductive charging. Others would point out that Apple’s approach to authentication through face recognition seems like the best attempt so far, and that iPhones haven’t been exploding en masse as of late. Image: Apple.

 

iCandy for your users

New significant user features in iOS 11 include a reorganized control center along with improved Siri and lock screen features. In some markets, Apple Maps is growing beyond its once tarnished reputation, with lots of indoor maps for places like major malls and airports.

Likewise, anti-tracking gets a boost in Safari. Oh, and there’s a Finder-like file browser too, which lets users browse documents both in the iCloud drive and specific app folders.

What’s more, iPad users get better multi-tasking features and a Mac-like dock, which is available across the system. Not all users will need a laptop after this. For more cool stuff, we recommend taking a look at Macrumors’ comprehensive roundup.

 

New multi tasking features on iOS 11 on iPad.

New iOS 11 multi tasking features on the iPad. If you want all the details on iOS 11, please don’t miss Ars Technica’s 13 page review. They’re not messing around.

 

iOS is becoming highly manageable

For those of us who need to keep track of mobile fleets or kiosk devices, iOS offers several welcome additions – that is, for users of MDM and EMM systems like Miradore’s very own Miradore Online.

TechTarget’s Jack Madden has put together some excellent resources analyzing MDM changes in iOS 11.  A search for iOS 11 in Apple’s own configuration profile docs is also really useful. Here are some highlights:

  • Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP) is now open to all old and new devices supporting iOS 11, as opposed to the previous limitation to hardware bought from Authorized Resellers. This is huge for many use cases, including those involving refurbished devices.
  • Apple TV now has full MDM and DEP support. Customize and lock down those conference room screen sharing devices.
  • Whitelisting of Wi-Fi networks for devices in supervised mode.
  • VPN restrictions
  • The ability to push iOS updates to supervised devices, even while locked.
  • Some limitations imposed on devices are moving towards only being supported on supervised devices.

Those of our readers who love tech podcasts should probably have a listen to Madden, in podcast form as well. This is especially worth checking out if you’re starting to wonder about the management options for the Apple Watch, which, with its new cell capabilities, is rapidly moving towards eventual independence from being “just” an iPhone accessory.

 

There you have it: a quick walkthrough of iOS 11 benefits and links to more resources. And don’t forget to check out what Miradore’s EMM solution can do for your iOS devices. Happy upgrading.

 

Title image by Håkan Dahlström

Thomas Nybergh

Thomas Nybergh

Thomas Nybergh is a writer with a passion for mobile technology and user-centred design. He has spent nearly a decade working at the crossroads of technology and marketing and now spends far too much time on the internet helping to make it tick.
Thomas Nybergh