AirWatch 8 released with Apple-heavy integrations

AirWatch 8 represents the company's most significant platform upgrade since its ​acquisition by VMware exactly a year ago.

AirWatch has rolled out version 8 of its enterprise mobility management platform, with features that tie it more closely to the innards of Apple devices.

The company says AirWatch 8 represents its most significant platform upgrade since its acquisition by VMware exactly a year ago, and it's designed to show users that the deal hasn't dampened its autonomy or ability to iterate.

On the Apple front, users gain the ability to access enterprise apps with Apple's Touch ID, its fingerprint identification feature, and the EyeVerify eye scan. It can be used in conjunction with two-factor authentication or on its own, and it works with both AirWatch apps and those from a third party.

According to Blake Brannon, lead solutions engineer for AirWatch, these features can reduce help desk calls by allowing users to opt for biometric authentication in the event that a password is forgotten.

In a bid to make management simpler for IT departments, AirWatch 8 also integrates with AppleCare and Apple's Volume Purchase Program for Mac OS X. AirWatch didn't limit its integration focus entirely to Apple, though, as it gave laptops running Google Chrome a management nod, in addition to the IoT sector, through an integration with Jasper's cloud-based platform.

To bolster app management and deployment, AirWatch 8 comes with a new app dashboard that provides users with information such as statistics, deployment schedules and version adoptions for enterprise applications.

On the hardware front, AirWatch 8 users will gain the ability to pre-register Intel devices running Android, in order to auto-enroll the device once it is turned on. In terms of security, AirWatch 8 now integrates with Veracode's cloud-based platform to weed out harmful mobile applications that may be downloaded by an employee. This allows enterprise access to be denied if such an app is detected.

"With AirWatch 8, AirWatch is taking the next step towards providing a platform that meets diverse enterprise requirements and is equipped to handle customer needs in the coming year," said Stacy Crook, research director, IDC's Enterprise Mobility research practice.