Tuesday, July 2, 2013

iOS 7 looks to be great for education, but.....

In case you haven't seen it, Apple has put up a page detailing the new features in iOS 7 that's slated for release this fall. It appears they have taken seriously the fact that many schools are using iPads and have put much effort into providing a better suite of tools and options for managing the devices and purchased apps.

One of the best features is its integration with the VPP program. Institutions will be able to purchase VPP codes for apps and books and assign them to students. This means students will download them using their own Apple ID but the school retains ownership of the app/book. Once those students move on, you can revoke the license and issue it to next year's crop of students.

There are too many awesome features to go into here; you can read all about them here: iOS 7 in Education

Apple certainly didn't put much thought into the fact that releasing such a huge and beneficial update for education months after school resumes puts incredible pressure on school technologists who will have to not only figure out how to implement and use the new features, but get the update onto devices that will have been in use for a few months.

At the very least, Apple should provide some type of deployment guide ahead of time so we can prepare for this. Will devices out in the wild that are Supervised and managed by an MDM have to be collected and altered in any way to take advantage of the new features? What about apps that are purchased through VPP and deployed to student devices before the update drops? Will we be able to revoke those codes as well? 

Come on, Apple. Give us some idea of what we can expect here.