It is easy for an enterprise environment to configure and manage iOS devices. Easy with an OS X Lion server in place. But this is not always the case. On the release of iPad 3, Apple also introduced the Apple Configurator.
With the new tool you can impose restrictions within the profile that you assign to the devices To tackle these needs. You can now address deployment frustrations by creating various profiles for the devices (such as one for office workers, and others for bosses and supervisors) that offer restrictions to hardware such as cameras and built-in services like FaceTime or the App Store, and also which allow you to specify which Apps can be used. When the profile is set up, you can then supervise the devices using it and make adjustments to the profile that are applied the next time the device is connected to the Mac (do keep in mind the device is wiped when updated in this way).
The last option the Configurator program offers is user and group assignments. You can set up lists of employees or students and assign different devices to them using check-out and check-in routines, save documents created by users on their devices, and even preview them if needed.
To an extent, Apple Configurator is similar to the OS X Server’s Open Directory options for managing multiple Macs in a workgroup. If you are familiar with OS X Server or even have used the basic OS X Parental Controls and have created restricted and custom Mac accounts and system setups, then similar principles apply with the Configurator.
While the Configurator does run on OS X, it so far is fairly separate from many of the services built into the OS. For instance, it does not interface with any settings in iTunes, and requires you to create a separate list of available users instead of accessing the system’s directory or your Address Book contacts for user and group information. Despite this, the program is relatively easy to use and should offer robust deployment options for employers, teachers, or other supervisors who have a Mac available through which to manage their iOS devices.
This now offers a tool for small to medium business, as well as home users – a way of managing devices without the need for a server.
Download Apple Configurator