Apple has described iOS 8, now available as a free download, as "the biggest release since the launch of the App Store" back in July 2008. Key new end-user features include improved Messages and Photos functionality, predictive typing for Apple's QuickType keyboard (and third-party keyboard support), Family Sharing (for iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases), the Health app and iCloud Drive for easy access to stored content and enhanced collaboration.
iOS 8 is also a big release for developers, thanks to a multitude of new features — including the HealthKit and HomeKit frameworks, app extensions, in-app TouchID authentication, Handoff (which enables a user to begin an activity on one device and continue on another within wireless range), Metal (a new hardware-accelerated graphics API) and CloudKit (which handles server-side application logic). Apple has also introduced a new Objective-C-based programming language, Swift, for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.
Among the key new enterprise features in iOS 8 are: expanded data protection for PIM apps other than Mail (i.e. Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes and Messages); the ability to sign and encrypt messages via S/MIME; enhanced productivity and security features in Mail and Calendar; easier access to corporate documents; new tooling to push e-books and PDFs to devices, and remotely remove them when no longer required; finer control over which apps can open documents downloaded from enterprise domains or iCloud Drive; a new networking framework supporting advanced content-filtering; and more powerful MDM (mobile device management) capabilities, including certificate-based single sign-on.
All this extra functionality means that iOS 8 devices are likely to end up hosting more critical personal data (concerning your health and your home, for example), while at the same time supporting richer connectivity among apps, Apple devices and the cloud. This will give IT managers plenty to think about as they consider how best to support iOS 8 devices — either company-issued or BYOD-sanctioned — in their organisations.
To get an idea of the help IT managers can expect from the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) sector, we looked at the five 'leaders' in the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for EMM suites and evaluated their support for, and resources surrounding, iOS 8 in the enterprise. Our findings are summarised in the table below (click on ticks to link to the relevant resources):
|EMM vendor||Press release||Microsite||White paper||Webinar||Video||Blog||Other|
Let's examine some of the offerings from each vendor.
VMware-owned AirWatch has announced 'instant and comprehensive' support for iOS 8's new enterprise functionality including: always-on VPN; single-sign-on certificate support; per-message S/MIME; the ability to prevent users editing settings menu restrictions; administrator oversight of new device queries (such as last iCloud backup); enhanced settings and enrolment information; document provider APIs; download restrictions; and automatic distribution of iBooks, ePub and PDF documents pushed to user devices. Resources include a microsite, a webinar, a short video and a blog. AirWatch also has a portal — My AirWatch — that, among other things, provides an iOS platform guide, an iOS 8 management presentation and an iOS 8 seed script. You'll need to be a registered AirWatch customer to access these resources.
XenMobile Mobile Device Management (MDM) Edition provides 'zero day' iOS 8 compatibility, according to Citrix. The company will also deliver iOS 8-compatible versions of both XenMobile App Edition and XenMobile Enterprise Edition (compare editions here). Existing customers of the App and Enterprise editions will need to download the updated MDX toolkit and updated Worx Mobile Apps, and rewrap their apps. Resources include a microsite, a webinar, a blog and a FAQ.
Containerisation specialist Good Technology's iOS 8 support covers a portfolio of EMM applications, including Good secure mobile collaboration app, Good for Enterprise, Good Access, Good Connect, Good Share, Good for Salesforce1, Good Pro and the Good Dynamics Secure Mobility Platform. The company has also enabled iOS 8 support for over 1,300 custom apps built on the Good platform and, via its ISV partners, offers a range of iOS 8-ready Good-secured apps. Resources include a webinar and a blog.
Part of IBM's MobileFirst portfolio, MaaS360 (formerly owned by Fiberlink) delivers 'instant support' for iOS 8 devices, and provides a handy iOS 8 Readiness Checklist for IT managers using the product. Other resources include forums, blogs, webinars and videos — all available via the MaaSters Center.
MobileIron marked the availability of iOS 8 with a well-stocked enterprise resource centre, offering access to a detailed white paper (What iOS 8 Means to the Enterprise), a webinar, videos on specific iOS 8 features and a blog. According to MobileIron, the top three things every enterprise should know about iOS 8 are: (1) how to protect end-user privacy and data; (2) how to ensure that new apps don't put data at risk; and (3) how to securely manage the content lifecycle.