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iPad

Apple in the enterprise: What is Shared iPad for Business?

With a recent software update, Apple’s iPad OS gets support for an excellent feature borrowed from Apple School Manager called Shared iPad for Business. This lets enterprises share iPads between employees much more effectively.

What is Shared iPad for Business?

Apple first introduced the capacity to share iPads within Apple School Manager. The idea behind this option is that by combining Managed Apple IDs and the cloud it became possible to share fleets of iPads among multiple students.

A student would use their Managed Apple ID to sign-in to the machines, which would then be populated by all that student’s relevant data, apps and resources, including their own personal Mail account, app data, iCloud Photo Library and more. Data is all stored in iCloud and downloaded when required.

Apple’s decision to extend this support into enterprise deployments with Shared iPad for Business makes it possible to find new ways to use Apple’s tablets across industries, and provides a personalized experience for multiple end users.

It should be of particular use in retail, distribution and logistics, where employees frequently make use of mobile devices – which can now more easily be shared across teams. It also makes it easier to deploy apps across teams.

How does Shared iPad for Business work?

Employees simply sign in with a company-provided Managed Apple ID and password. The iPad then becomes their own while they are using it.

The employee has their own Mail accounts, their own files, photos, and app data. Since the data is stored in iCloud, employees can sign-in to any Shared iPad that belongs to your organization.

Data is cached on the device so employees can choose from a list of recent users to quickly get back to their documents, apps, and content exactly as they left them.

In schools, Apple makes it possible to login to the Managed Apple ID using a four-digit code. You’ll find in-depth setup and deployment information here.

What is a Managed Apple ID?

A Managed Apple ID is different from a user’s unique Apple ID. This protects individual user data and puts the company in control of that account and the data inside it.

You use Managed Apple IDs to access Apple services, including iCloud, Notes, iWork, and so on. They are managed and owned by the enterprise, which means the organization has control, which can be particularly useful when dealing with employee churn. There’s an Apple support document that provides details.

What about access to apps?

Keychain support is part of the system. What this means is that passwords for enterprise-approved apps and online services that you may use are linked to the Keychain that is itself linked to your account.

As a result, you’ll be able to use Apple’s own password management system to access those apps and services across the devices you share using that Apple ID. It also means other people won’t be able to access them using your Keychain, unless they have access to that ID.

How does this integrate with my MDM?

Jamf has already announced zero-day support for iOS 13.4, including for Shared iPad for Business. If you use other third-party mobile device management systems, then you should check with the vendor, as it is likely these are being or will soon be updated to support the feature.

Do you have to download the data each time?

When you use a Shared iPad for Business system, you’ll be presented with a list of recent users whose data may be cached locally on the device. In order to access that information, you will need to enter the credentials for your Managed ID.

What about temporary use?

The system supports temporary sessions. These allow users to sign-in without an account to use the device, and any data they leave on the device is erased when they sign-out.

What other enterprise features are in iOS 13.4?

There are some additional enhancements inside the new OS. They include iCloud Drive Folder Sharing, which also works with Managed Apple IDs and new collaboration tools introduced in Pages and Keynote, and enhanced pointer support in iPads. The latter does so much to boost their enterprise usage case.

The release also introduces proxy support for Push notifications, which means you can send communications across your device fleet using your MDM system. This will be of particular use within tightly regulated industries that use default-deny network access protections.

More info for remote workers

Feel free to explore my extensive selection of guides that should help the many Apple-using remote workers and enterprises that employ them:

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple ships iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support – and more

Apple has updated iPhones, iPads, Macs and the Apple Watch/Apple TV, offering up  some of the features we’ve been talking about for weeks, including iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support and more

The productivity update

You could argue that the update is a boost to productivity, particularly as it includes support for features that should be quite useful to remote workers – namely iCloud Folder Sharing and trackpad support for iPads.

It’s an important update that introduces a string of essential improvements:

  • iCloud folder sharing.
  • Mouse and trackpad support for iPads.
  • Universal app purchases.
  • Toolbar improvements in Mail.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for Photos.
  • New CarPlay controls.

You also get support for the recently introduced Beats Powerbeats 4 earphones and a selection of nine new Memoji stickers.

Mac users gain Screen Time Communication Limits (useful for remote workers  attempting to keep life under control) and real-time Apple Music lyrics. And recently played Apple Arcade games now appear in the Arcade tab, making it much easier to play them across all your Apple devices.

What is iCloud folder sharing?

Without a doubt the marquee feature in this release, iCloud Folder Sharing means you can share entire folders of documents, images and other digital stuff with others. Simple to use, the feature was originally announced at WWDC 2019. (Apple may have had problems ensuring consistent behavior in the feature, which turns iCloud Drive into a Dropbox replacement for the rest of us.)

What is mouse and trackpad support for iPads?

I wrote a whole article about this feature; essentially trackpad support means your iPad becomes an even more effective (and far more use flexible) MacBook replacement. It gives you a new cursor design that highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps.

What are Universal app purchases?

Remember the old days when you had to purchase an app for iOS and an app for Mac using two separate App Stores? You still do, but now you (may) only need to pay once for the privilege, as Universal App Purchases let developers make both apps available for one price exchange.

What is the new Mail toolbar?

The new Mail toolbar is a big improvement to a little problem. People complained that the delete and reply to controls were too close together in iOS 13, which led them to accidentally delete mails they wanted to keep.

The update puts a little space between the two and adds new Folder and Compose buttons. Enterprise users will want to know that responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME for this.

What are the new CarPlay controls?

You now get support for third-party navigation apps and call controls on the dashboard when on a call via the Phone app or any (compatible) VoIP app that supports CarPlay.

Is there anything else?

You mean beyond the customary list of patched problems? Of course. You’ll find a new Shazam It Shortcut you can use to identify a song that’s playing, some new keyboard shortcuts if you happen to be using Photos and audio playback for USDZ files.

What about Apple Watch?

Apple also updated Apple Watch to watchOS 6.2. This offers support for in-app purchases on the device and brings ECG support to Chile, New Zealand and Turkey. The company also introduced tvOS 13.4, which improves Family Sharing.

You can read Apple’s notes on the iOS/iPadOS update here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple ships iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support, more

Apple has updated iPhones, iPads, Macs and the Apple Watch/Apple TV, introducing some of the features we’ve been talking about for weeks, including iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support, and more

The productivity update

You could argue that the update is a boost to productivity, particularly as it includes support for features that should be quite useful to remote workers, namely iCloud Folder Sharing and trackpad support for iPads.

It’s an important update that introduces a string of essential improvements:

  • iCloud folder sharing.
  • Mouse and trackpad support for iPads.
  • Universal app purchases.
  • Toolbar improvements in Mail.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for Photos.
  • New CarPlay controls.

You also get support for the recently introduced Beats Powerbeats 4 earphones and a selection of nine new Memoji stickers.

Mac users gain Screen Time Communication Limits (so useful for the remote worker attempting to keep life under control) and real-time Apple Music lyrics.

Recently played Apple Arcade games now appear in the Arcade tab, making it much easier to play them across all your Apple devices.

What is iCloud folder sharing?

Without doubt the marquee feature in this release, iCloud Folder Sharing means you can share entire folders of documents, images and other digital stuff with others. Simple to use, Apple may have had problems ensuring consistent behavior in the feature, which turns iCloud Drive into a Dropbox replacement for the rest of us.

The feature was originally announced at WWDC 2019.

What is mouse and trackpad support for iPads?

I wrote a whole article about this, but essentially trackpad support means your iPad becomes an even more effective (and far more use flexible) MacBook replacement. It gives you a new cursor design that highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps. Take a look.

What are Universal app purchases?

Remember the old days when you had to purchase an app for iOS and an application for Mac on two separate App Stores? You still do, but now you (may) only need to pay once for the privilege, as Universal App Purchases let developers make both apps available for one price exchange.

What is the new Mail toolbar?

The new Mail toolbar is a big improvement to a little problem. People complained that the delete and reply to controls were too close together in iOS 13, which led them to accidentally delete mails they wanted to keep.

The update puts a little space between the two and adds new Folder and Compose buttons. Enterprise users will want to know of that responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME for this.

What are the new CarPlay controls?

You now get support for third-party navigation apps and call controls on the dashboard when on a call via the Phone app or any (compatible) VoIP app that supports CarPlay.

Is there anything else?

You mean beyond the customary list of patched problems? Of course. You’ll find a new Shazam It Shortcut you can use to identify a song that’s playing, some new keyboard shortcuts if you happen to be using Photos and audio playback for USDZ files.

What about Apple Watch?

Apple has also updated Apple Watch to watchOS 6.2.  This offers support for in-app purchases on the device and bring ECG support to Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey. The company also introduced tvOS 13.4, which improves Family Sharing.

You can read Apple’s notes on the iOS/iPadOS update here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Everything you need to know about Apple’s pointer support for iPad

Apple has shared a lot more detail to explain how pointer and trackpad support will work with iPads, with video, guidance notes and a senior level company presentation all made available.

What is pointer and trackpad support on iPad?

Apple now supports trackpads in iPad OS 13.4.

That doesn’t mean you use the trackpad on an iPad in the same way as you use a pointing device on a Mac or other system, instead the company has developed a refined experience that’s unique to the tablet itself.

In other words, rather than deliver a ‘me-too’ experience, the company has thought deeply about how these things work in order to develop a control system that feels natural, intuitive and unique.

It means that rather than turn an iPad into a Mac (as some short-sighted commentators seem to want to believe), the company has simply put a little Mac inside of an iPad. The iPad is becoming a Mac plus.

NB: Apple has published an Augmented Reality tour of its new iPad Pro, which lets you see how it will look on your desk. This is available here.

How does Apple describe it?

Apple explains how it works:

As you move your finger across the trackpad, the pointer transforms to highlight user interface elements. Multi-Touch gestures on the trackpad let you navigate the entire system without raising your hand from the keyboard and trackpad.

You can tap buttons, launch apps, access Control Center, and do everything else you can do using this system.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering said:

“We carefully considered the best way to integrate trackpad use into a touch-first environment while retaining everything our customers know and love about iPad. We’re thrilled to bring this new way of interacting with iPad to the millions of people using iPadOS today.”

What does it look like?

When you work with the trackpad/pointer you don’t see an arrow cursor, instead you see a semi-transparent circle that intuitively highlights user interface elements as you work.

The circle only appears when you are using it – you can still use touch, and you can still focus on the content when you want to do so.

It’s also contextually intelligent.

This means you’ll see slightly different behaviours depending on what you do – app icons will behave differently to text boxes, and system control options will work differently again.

For example, when you run the cursor over a text box you’ll see that box appear, or run it over a date in Calendar to see it highlighted – tap at an item that’s highlighted in this way to access it.

The system also handles gesture controls, which let you switch between apps, quickly get to the App Switcher, and use the Dock, Control Center and apps in Slide Over.

Craig Federighi presents…

Apple has also published a video in which Federighi demonstrates how trackpad cursor support works on iPad.

“Our goal with iPad has always been to create a device so capable and so versatile it can become whatever you want it to be,” says Federighi during the presentation.

“That versatility is built on the power of touch. But of course we give you so many other ways to interact with your iPad, and sometimes you want to type. For typing, nothing beats the Magic Keyboard. It’s when typing that you most appreciate the precision and ergonomics of a trackpad.”

He said the company “deeply considered” how to bring a cursor to a “touch-first experience”.

The developer VP showed us a few points:

  • The cursor appears on screen to be round “just like your fingers”.
  • As you move through the controls on your iPad the cursor will change its appearance to reflect the tool you may want to select.
  • He points to its built-in drag-&-drop support and support for Slide Over,
  • And explains the three finger gestures supported on the device – up to go home, swipe up and hold to enter multitasking.
  • The demonstration also includes a glance at how accurately you can work with spreadsheets using the device.

“New levels of control and precision when you need it while preserving iPad’s legendary versatility,” he promised.

What else do we know?

  • Access Notification Center: Move cursor to the top of screen and drag up.
  • Access Control Center: Move cursor to top-right corner of the screen and click on the Wi-Fi/battery status indicators.
  • Switch between recent apps: Use three fingers and swipe left and right to switch between recently opened apps. Or use three fingers to swipe up and close the current app.
  • Three finger pinch to close current app and open multitasking.

Can I personalize the way this works?

Yes, you can personalize how this works on your iPad. Things you can change include:

Appearance

Three tools: Increase contrast (on/off), Automatically Hide pointer (default 2 seconds and Color (none as default, blue, white, red, green, yellow or orange highlights available).

Pointer size

A slider that takes pointer size from small to large

Pointer animations

This allows the pointer to animate and adapt to elements on the screen.

Trackpad inertia

When this is enabled the pointer will continue to move after you raise your finger.

Scrolling speed

These items are available in Settings>Accessibility>Pointer Control.

There is one more collection of settings you can adjust when using your iPad with a trackpad. This is available in Settings>General>Trackpad. Here you can change:

  • Tracking speed, using a little scroll bar.
  • Natural Scrolling, when enabled content will track the movement of your fingers.
  • Enable/disable tap to click, you’ll be able to select things with a lighter touch.
  • Enable/disable two finger secondary click, Tap with two fingers to right-click.

What about developers?

The company says most iPad OS apps will support the new user interface without requiring any additional code.

That’s true, but some more advanced features – such as unique hover gesture support — may take a little work. Apple has introduced new API’s developers can use if they want to add or improve this support in their apps.

How do you get this?

Trackpad and cursor support is made available in iPad OS 13.4, so you’ll need to install this on your iPad first.

Once you have updated your machine you’ll be able to access the new features using a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, Apple’s new Magic Keyboard with trackpad (ships May), or another iPad peripheral that supports the feature, such as the Logitech Combo Touch.

All of these solutions will let you use the cursor/trackpad support now built into the iPad OS.

Up next:

This is a highly significant moment in the continued evolution of the iPad, and of computing. It means the iPad is moving inexorably toward becoming a more sophisticated and flexible solution for some uses than a Mac.

The move to a pointer-based interface also has potential (which I think we’ll see realized) for virtual and gesture-based interfaces.  Eye and head movement interfaces already exist, now Apple is making them primary interfaces.

While the times we are in are complex and difficult, Apple continues to make them interesting. Good luck, everyone.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple announces new iPad Pro, MacBook Air

Apple has announced both its new iPad Pro with 3D camera and a new Magic Keyboard-toting $999 model of its MacBook Air, introducing both new products with a press release, rather than the March event it was originally expected to hold.

The new iPad Pro

Apple’s new iPad Pro offers a whole bunch of new features, including a LiDAR scanner and – as expected — trackpad support in the form of the new backlit Magic Keyboard.

The new pro tablet holds an A12Z Bionic chip, a far speedier version of the processor it put inside the iPhone XS series of smartphones. The company had been expected to use an iPhone 11 processor. Both 11-inch and 12.9-inch models are available with Wi-Fi and Cellular options also on sale.

The new MacBook Air

Available from $999, the new MacBook Air dismisses the butterfly keyboard in favour of the new Magic Keyboard now used in Apple’s MacBook Pro models.

The new system has twice the performance of the most recent MacBook Air and offers twice as much storage as before.

This is a developing story, check back for more information.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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