ÜberTech

Explaining the 4 Big New Features of Sybase Afaria for Apple iOS 4

Summary:Sybase announced the beta to a new Afaria update that boosts its iPhone management capabilities in four major new ways.

"Fo', fo', fo" was legendary basketball center Moses Malone's promise to fans that his Philadelphia 76ers would sweep its playoff opponents 4-0 and win the 1983 NBA title. Malone's bold prophecy came through, and he was named the MVP.

"Fo', fo', fo" is also an appropriate way to introduce the new version of Sybase Afaria, which delivers four key new features for iOS 4.

Sybase is accepting applications for the new Afaria beta that will be available in early July. The upgrade does a lot more than ride on iOS 4's coattails, instead taking huge advantage of iOS 4's 100 new features and 1,500 new developer APIs: 1. Simplified delivery of enterprise apps. Until iOS 4, iPhone apps could only be distributed in one of two ways, neither of which was ideal for custom in-house apps. If they are published via Apple's public App Store, this can be too revealing for competition-minded firms.

Firms can also distribute proprietary apps via the iTunes software. This requires employees to use a wired connection to synchronize their iPhones to iTunes running on their individual PCs. This isn't the most convenient solution for IT managers, compared to platforms such as Windows Mobile that allow enterprises to wirelessly send apps and data straight to their employees' smartphones.

With Afaria for iOS 4, enterprises will be able to wirelessly transmit apps and updates straight to employees' iPhones, says Sybase senior product manager, Mark Jordan. Admins can assign applications to user groups, notify users of updates, and revoke the rights to those apps from lost phones or departing employees. With Afaria, admins can also highlight third-party apps on the App Store that employees should download.

2. Separation of personal and enterprise information on the iPhone. One of Afaria's longtime trademark features is enabling IT admins to wipe all data from lost or stolen devices or from devices owned by departing employees.

Using the new mobile data management protocol in iOS 4, Afaria will give IT admins much finer-grained control over apps and data, said Jordan. IT admins can remove all PIM data such as corporate e-mails and calendar entries, for instance, but leave employees' personal apps -- Pandora, or games -- intact.

3. Comprehensive iOS management. Using the aforementioned MDM protocol in iOS 4, Afaria will be able to implement policies on iPhones silently in the background. It also gives IT managers more power and flexibility to enforce policies. For instance, Afaria can restrict corporate e-mail access for users who fail to comply with IT's device management policies.

4. Greater transparency and control. iPhone today can only return a short list of data about employees' iPhones, including hardware IDs (the IMEI), the iOS version number, and some more. With iOS 4, Afaria will be able to report back many more key details. Such as what apps are running on the iPhone, or how much storage remains. Both are helpful for admins considering whether to push out new updates or apps to employees. The new Afaria can also report if an iPhone has been compromised by a hacker, whether it is set to allow data downloads while employees are 'roaming' internationally, and other salient information.

With all of these new features, could Afaria for iOS 4 end up being the MVP of your enterprise mobile infrastructure? Sign up to download the beta to see.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Eric Lai tracks the latest news and trends in enterprise mobility. A veteran tech journalist most recently covering enterprise software for Computerworld, Eric joined Sybase, an SAP company in April 2010. Eric's views are his alone and do not necessarily represent those of SAP. This blog is sponsored by SAP.

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