While some are still in back-to-school mode and others are getting ready for some football, we’ve been gearing up for the latest mobile operating systems to hit the market.

Today, Apple released its most advanced mobile operating system (OS) yet — iOS 11 — meaning time is of the essence for IT & Security leaders to zero in on their Apple iOS management strategies to account for the myriad changes set to affect their organization as employees upgrade their iPhones and iPads to the latest OS version.

To ensure that there is zero downtime as updates take place, IBM MaaS360 with Watson cognitive unified endpoint management (UEM) is pleased to provide same-day support for iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra — giving customers the capabilities that are needed to adopt, manage, and secure the latest technology within their environment.

Watch the on-demand Webinar: iOS 11 for the enterprise

iOS 11: Blurring the Line Between iPad and Mac

With today’s releases come a broad assortment of iPad-specific updates. Although most use their tablets and laptops interchangeably, there’s no denying there are particular scenarios in which the tablet has become the preferred alternative, whether as kiosk, point-of-sale device, or in the field. With iOS 11, the list of use cases for iPad at work is increasing.

New with iOS 11, compatible iPads now have a customizable dock, much like what’s been available on Macs for years, making it easy to switch between commonly used apps with a simple swipe up and a tap.

Need to multitask? No problem. Users can now tap into enhanced versions of the Split View and Slide Over features that were introduced in iOS 9 — eliminating the need to jockey back and forth between apps (e.g., browser and word processing) when performing simple tasks.

The Apple Pencil functionality has also been improved, venturing beyond its current design capabilities and taking the iPad to a new level in the ways it can be used for work. For example users will be able to:

  • Begin marking up PDFs and photos right after they’re opened.
  • Take a picture of a doc, format it, complete it and sign it in one fell swoop.
  • Tap the screen to jot down some quick notes right from the lock screen.

Improvements for the iPad and iPhone Alike

A new QuickType keyboard is now available for iPhones and iPads that simplifies the process of drafting messages and keeping in touch on the go. QuickType for iPhone introduces a new touch keyboard that is optimized for single-hand use. For iPad, Quick Flicks makes it easier to access numbers and special characters without needing to access a separate panel. MaaS360 supports both keyboard types across iPhones and iPads.

The iPhone Control Center has also received an update that goes beyond putting everything important in one place, it’s become more extensive and customizable. What’s displayed in the bottom portion can be updated in settings to ensure icons only appear for the apps that are used most frequently.

As workers progress from one task to the next, a new multitasking grid makes it easy to visualize what apps they have open and tap into them – making better use of the screen real estate than prior versions of iOS. Better yet, the dock and the Control Center are shown in the same screen – offering a central location to take their journey from one place to the next.

While on the topic of having everything in one place, a new Files app for Apple devices does just that – for files. Now users are able to find, sort and view their full assortment of content from a central location on the device. Files supports popular file share repositories like iCloud Drive, Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, making content search an effortless process, no matter where it is stored.

A Redesigned App Store Geared Toward Discovery

Aiming for the best possible user experience from the very beginning, it’s no wonder that Apple decided to revamp the App Store with iOS 11. There have never been more apps, making for more choices and thus, more complication. New tweaks have been made to improve search and discoverability, such as:

  • A Today tab that displays the most recent updates;
  • Apps and Games now split into separate sections; and
  • Better descriptions, previews and reviews.

These improvements are certain to increase the volume of apps making their way down to iPhones and iPads used at work, meaning it would be wise for IT management to monitor and intermittently revisit the company’s mobile app security strategy. Consider updating whitelists and blacklists to ensure that productivity apps are available and the more distracting ones are restricted.

More Changes Approaching Enterprise Doors

In addition to the plentiful updates that will impact the user interface and experience, Apple has introduced more controls for supervised devices that can now be enforced on iPhones and iPads via MaaS360.

Users will now have more control over:

  • VPN creation;
  • System App Removal;
  • AirPrint and AirPrint beacon discovery;
  • Keychain storage of username and password for AirPrint; and
  • TLS requirement for AirPrint.

These changes are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into iOS 11, watch this on-demand IBM webinar to gain a fuller understanding of its enterprise impact and to get the tips and tricks that are needed to take complete advantage of what is available with today’s release.

Watch the on-demand Webinar: iOS 11 for the enterprise

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