WWDC 2016: First Impressions

Courtesy of MacRumors

Apple hosted another huge event for WWDC 2016. They announced many great new features for their four major platforms, watchOS, tvOS, macOS, and iOS, to bring user experience to the next level. It looks like the goal of this WWDC is to focus on delivering dramatically enhanced user experience, particularly on Apple Watch and iOS devices, allowing users to access apps and control functions much quicker, directly on the home screen or even locked screen with reduced steps.

Apple also opened up Siri and Maps to developers, extending the usages of the great features into 3rd party applications. While some of the features will increase usability and productivity for enterprise uses, it would require enterprise IT managers to figure out how to best leverage them while applying appropriate management to them.

Here are the most noteworthy new features introduced to the platforms.

WatchOS: It’s all about the dramatically improved Home screen, the new Dock system, and site button designed to make end-users spend more time on the watch. Inter-device interaction is another example of increasing the usage of the watch.

While the function that watchOS can now unlock a Mac is a great feature, from an enterprise security standpoint, enterprise IT admins need to look into the ability of restricting this function under circumstances to prevent unauthorized access.

MacOS: First of all, the name has changed from OS X to macOS for the Sierra release. Apple added some more commands to allow more MDM management flexibility including IP Firewall configuration and restriction settings such as iCloud keychain sync, Back to My Mac, Find My Mac, etc.

What’s noteworthy here is the focus on Continuity where Apple added a new feature, Universal Clipboard, which allows users to copy text or images between macOS and iOS devices. While this will be a great feature for users in the enterprise environment, IT managers should be mindful to set up appropriate Enterprise Mobility Management policies to prevent potential corporate data leakage.

Click to Tweet!: .@MobileIron First Impressions from #WWDC16

iOS: This is one of the biggest releases for iOS 10 with features including redesigned Lock Screen, Siri opening up to developers, Photo with facial recognition and photo organization, and the all-new Maps design with better search and the ability to take action without leaving Maps. IT managers should manage corporate users’ use of these capabilities under certain circumstances in order to prevent unauthorized access and data leakage. These areas include access of the Universal Clipboard, interaction on Lock Screen, etc.

In the MDM session, Apple announced adding more device management controls to make it more flexible for admins to manage iOS devices through MDM solutions. These changes include default audio settings for voice apps, advanced VPN configuration, and Bluetooth modification restriction for supervised devices. One feature worth noting that will have impact on enterprise management is the integration with Cisco Spark by allowing Fast-Lane QoS marking and integration with native iOS calling features. This will provide tighter integration with corporate infrastructure. What’s also notable is that Apple focused more on some of the major Education features that were released with iOS 9.3 than the new MDM capabilities introduced with iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. Apple demonstrated and heavily emphasized the features of Shared iPad, Apple School Manager, and Classroom app.

We see Apple continue to focus on pushing device and application adoption in the enterprise world. Not only was this demonstrated by integrating with Cisco Spark, but also by a dedicated session on AppConfig Community, which is a community focused on providing tools and best practices to enable an open and simple way to configure and secure mobile apps in business.

Furthermore, we think that the shared iPad capability for Education will pave the way for new, rich use cases in the enterprise world. In future blogs, we will have a more in-depth look at the implications from an EMM perspective on how to better leverage these capabilities and offer more flexibility with better management and security to protect critical corporate data.

Kevin Hsu


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