iOS 9: Making a Great Enterprise User Experience Even Better

Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) brings together app developers from around the world to learn what new things Apple will be adding to iOS and OS X. With the addition of watchOS, app developers can now plan and develop their apps with three platforms. The combining of Apple's developer programs into a single developer program underscores Apple's desire to have single place to develop, manage, and distribute apps.

By promising "a better experience with every touch," the release of iOS 9 is clearly designed to enhance the platform’s most commonly used features. For instance, Siri is being bolstered with proactive suggestions, and new iPad multitasking features will help users be even more productive on their devices.  With additional upgrades that improve system performance, extend battery life, introduce "thinner" apps and strengthen mobile security, Apple has done an excellent job of refining  an already advanced mobile operating system.

Here’s a sneak preview of some of the new device enrollment, application management, and per-app VPN capabilities that Apple is planning to include with iOS 9:

Removing the Apple ID requirement: With iOS 9, Apple announced that EMM providers can now distribute a Volume Purchase Program (VPP) app to individual devices instead of assigning the app to an Apple ID. Eliminating the Apple ID requirement on every device greatly simplifies fleet- deployments where often there isn’t an individual Apple ID assigned to a device.  This is also great news for application developers because each device will require a separate app license.

Distribute apps without the App Store: For corporate-deployed iOS 9 devices, enterprises will have the ability to disable the App Store yet still be able to deploy apps through the App Store. This feature will allow mobile administrators to better maintain a standard deployment blueprint and not worry about end users installing personal apps on corporate devices.

Convert unmanaged apps to managed apps: With iOS 9, an EMM vendor like Mobileiron can now transition a user-installed app to a corporate-liable app. Prior to iOS 9, this process required an end user to manually delete the app and then reinstall the same app via an EMM's enterprise app store.

Hold in iOS Setup Assistant: For institutions that use Apple's Device Enrollment Program (DEP) to mass configure and deploy iOS devices, iOS 9 includes a feature that allows an EMM vendor to hold the iOS device inside the iOS Setup Assistant until all configurations and policies have been deployed. This ensures that the iOS device is completely configured and ready for the end user.

Trust UI: New for iOS 9 is the inclusion of an interface that allows end users to trust the certificate used to digitally sign in-house developed apps. This change allows end users to definitively identify the source of any in-house app prior to installation. EMM vendors will also have the ability to prohibit end users from trusting any external sources while still retaining the ability to distribute their own in-house apps.

Per-app VPN changes: Apple announced three changes for per-app VPN. First, UDP traffic will now be supported with the current per-app VPN implementation. This is a big win for apps that require UDP in order to stream audio or video. Second, a per-app VPN connection can be established at layer 3. This is key for managing the actual data traffic that enterprises want their per app VPN connection to traverse. Third, the built-in IPSec clients (IKEv1 and IKEv2) can be used to manage per-app VPN connections.

By introducing these and other exciting new features for both the enterprise and end users,  Apple is once again taking the mobile user experience and enterprise security to a whole new level. With the release of iOS 9, Apple is clearly committed to reinforcing its position as the leading mobile operating system in the enterprise. Stay tuned for MobileIron’s in-depth analysis of iOS 9, and in the meantime check out our complete coverage of iOS 8.

MobileIron Team

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MobileIron is a modern cloud and endpoint security platform providing unified endpoint management (UEM), cloud security, and mobile threat defense.