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Manage iPads, iPhones with Apple Configurator

Manage iPads, iPhones with Apple Configurator
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The Apple ConfiguratorThe Apple ConfiguratorTo help manage iPad and iPhone deployments, Apple has come bearing a gift -- the Apple Configurator, a follow-up to their iPhone Configuration Utility.

iPad has graduated from high-tech gadget to full-blown business tool.  From single-owner brick-and-mortar shop-keepers to Fortune 100 businesses, everyone is integrating iPads into core business operations.  For example, retail bakery shop Specialty’s now use iPads as ordering kiosks. The store has a custom app that is pre-loaded on the iPad, each unit a specific mount that is tilted for best visibility and access, and locked down for theft protection.  Customers walk up, select their menu items and swipe with a credit card - presto - order sent.  For additional efficiency, the app has a built-in feature that will remember previous orders if the same credit card is used for fast re-ordering customers. 

Now the dilemma is how do retail, medical or other industries manage the deployment and maintenance of iPads -- basically creating a “iPad fleet management” problem.

To help out with iOS deployments, Apple has come bearing a new gift -- the Apple Configurator, a follow-up to their iPhone Configuration Utility (IPU) [covered earlier].

Apple Configurator has a super-set of features from the IPU.  You can download it from iTunes for free, and you’ll need a Mac running Lion (10.7.2+) to use it. 

There are some common use cases for the Apple Configurator:

Corporate distribution of iOS devices (iPad/iPhone) with built in configurations (i.e., internal apps such as custom. ipa files, VPN, WiFi, MDM initialization, etc.). 

Fixed Kiosk-style use for businesses that need a single application for customers to use (note: would require Supervision mode, more on this later)

Leased style distribution,handed out for a set period of time but intended to be re-used later

Mikhael Felker is an IT pro who has worked in Defense, Healthcare, High-Tech and Non-Profits. He teaches, writes, and speaks at numerous Southern California venues about technology.

See here to check out all his Tom's IT Pro articles.

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