WWDC 2018 Keynote Platform Highlights
As is tradition, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, kicked off another Apple Worldwide Developers Conference commonly called WWDC (or “dub dub” to some attendees) with a keynote full of announcements. This year saw more focus on expanding the unique capabilities of Apple’s core platforms and giving developers more power to innovate by growing their development frameworks. I attended WWDC 2018 and here are my main takeaways and summaries of the announcements from this year around iOS, macOS, and tvOS.
On iOS, Apple stayed in cadence and announced an expected fall release for their latest update with iOS 12. There were several announcements around this update that will have a big splash on the consumer markets and many others that we are excited to dig into for the enterprise. Apple continues to double down on their augmented reality with shared experiences and machine learning’s custom training for data models. These frameworks are attractive and could be quite powerful for developers in the years to come.
Additional iOS 12 announcements at WWDC 2018
- FaceTime with up to 32 people
- Better photo searching and sharing
- New parental control for Screen Time limitations
- Grouped notifications and Do Not Disturb customizations
On macOS, Apple announced a fall release to the operating system called macOS Mojave (macOS 10.14). Things will get a bit dark in a good way with the new Dark Mode setting to allow contrast for applications to pop on screen. Most if not all Apple developed apps already adopt the new UI, but the biggest change was to the new and improved Mac App Store look and feel. Light or dark, the new store is great looking as we see the styles and usability become uniform across Apple’s platforms.
Additional macOS Mojave announcements
- Automatic desktop cleanup with Stacks
- Quick actions for certain files
- Enhancements for screenshots and screen record
tvOS and watchOS
Consumers and enterprises can look forward to updates to other Apple platforms including “zero sign-on” for tvOS 12, Walkie-Talkie mode on watchOS 5, and the generous updates and quality of life improvements in Xcode 10.
Apple in the Enterprise: What’s Coming with Management and Configuration
While Apple’s major announcements tend to be targeted toward consumers and app developers, much of the news at WWDC 2018 is also quite exciting for both audiences including the enterprise. Some of which are outside of the MDM framework or it’s respective integrations like Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP). Here’s a breakdown of some of the major MDM announcements and what we’re excited about that are coming with updates to iOS, macOS and tvOS.
Apple Business Manager is here!
The major announcement of WWDC 2018 centered around the general release of Apple Business Manager. This is a new portal for consolidating DEP and VPP accounts to create a consolidated view for managing the purchasing of all devices and apps. This also means that the location token feature set already part of Apple School Manager is now available to the enterprise.
VMware already fully supports Apple Business Manager. Visit My Workspace ONE for more information today and be on the lookout for another blog post for more!
With iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, Apple is providing the opportunity to skip some additional setup screens to continue delivering on zero-touch enrollment through Apple School Manager and Apple Business Manager. The new setup screens that will be skippable in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave will be setup for iMessage, FaceTime, Screen Time and Software Update.
iOS 12 devices enrolling through DEP will be supervised by default with the ability to optionally enforce management will be deprecated as well. All iOS 12 devices going through DEP will be managed and supervised as long as a cloud configuration is assigned to them.
macOS Mojave is expected to allow for a more iOS-like enrollment approach. The direction is very reassuring in continuing to make the management of Apple devices modern and seamless across platforms.
iOS Management Announcements
Privacy enhancements to Safari
- One positive theme for iOS is a hard focus on privacy. With iOS 12, Safari will prevent certain tools like website share buttons from tracking users and advertisers from collecting device’s “fingerprint” or data points unique to your device. This aligns with Apple’s continued priority of security with built-in encryption and localized intelligence.
Granular S/MIME configurations
- For device management, iOS 12 is seeing a strong emphasis in customization for S/MIME in the native mail client. Admins will be able to give users more control around when to encrypt and sign their messages. However, if an admin wants to require that all their user’s messages are signed and encrypted by default, these options are still supported.
- Enhancements around push notifications will provide developers with the ability to categorize them to be ‘critical’ for any that fit in that category, and thereby bypassing the Do Not Disturb mode to alert the user. Notifications provide a great method for companywide alert messages during emergency situations.
- New restrictions around Date and Time will prevent users from modifying the device time to bypass time-based policies and toggling a device’s date and time settings.
- Administrators will be able to disable the ability for users to autofill passwords and share passwords via AirDrop – while this is a great feature for consumers, can be cause for concern for the security teams in organizations.
Modern Authentication for Native Mail
- Many will remember with the release of iOS 11 came the support for the native mail client to authenticate via modern authentication or OAuth. While this was a welcome capability for the platform, enterprises wanted a way to force this on their devices. With iOS 12, admins will be able to force the managed account to authenticate with OAuth.
A lot of these updates were announced during the What’s New in Managing Apple Devices Session. But apart from the explicitly announced features, we’ve been thinking about some of the consumer features that could have enterprise applications. One such feature that intrigued us is Siri Shortcuts. While not part of the management framework yet, Siri Shortcuts is a new option to create custom “shortcuts” using your own commands with Siri and execute actions in third-party applications. There is no management around this for now, but it opens up possibilities for app developers to make it easy for users to access the capabilities in their apps.
macOS Management Announcements
Return of the App Store
- macOS continues to make its drive toward uniformity with its other platforms and with macOS Mojave customers can expect this pattern to remain. Above, I mentioned the changes coming to the App Store, but even more exciting is the announcement for the plan to implement the iOS UI Kit into macOS so that any apps developed for iOS can easily be ported over to macOS as well. While it was said that this won’t be released by Mojave, it is great to see this trend and developer efficiency.
- Bringing the iOS application ecosystem to the macOS App Store would be a game changer for organizations to simplify application deployment and patching for these applications significantly. Apple programs like the Volume Purchase Program (now part of Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager) would become increasingly important for organizations for macOS converging IT practices and the management model for both iOS and macOS. Bringing Office 365 applications to the App Store by the end of 2018 is a huge leap forward in that direction.
Restrictions & Modern Authentication for Native Mail
- It’s great to see parity with configuration options with iOS, where macOS also the gets the ability to force the managed account to authenticate with OAuth as well as the password autofill restrictions with macOS 10.14.
tvOS Management Announcements
- As tvOS continues to see more and more adoption in the enterprise, I was happy to see the management capabilities follow suit. With tvOS 12, admins will be able to leverage the OS update and VPP capabilities previously exclusive to iOS and macOS devices. This has been a growing trend with each tvOS update and there is no exception this year.
VPP for tvOS
- tvOS applications can be purchased through Apple School and installed on tvOS 12 devices via MDM commands. Now alongside enterprise applications, organizations can install any app available on the tvOS App Store to take advantage of the other features already available to the platform such as Single App Mode. We at VMware have been extremely excited about the use case around using Apple TVs as Digital Signage or Kiosk devices. To help promote this, we built a simple tvOS application to help solve this use case and open sourced it at VMworld last year. With tvOS 12, it opens up the possibility to leverage a multitude of applications from the tvOS App Store making Apple TVs a more compelling Digital Signage solution.
Managed Software Updates
- In the spring, Apple showed focus on their update management capabilities for their platforms and the news from WWDC 2018 says that most of these capabilities will be part of tvOS 12. The command to download and install the latest OS update will be available on Apple TV devices running tvOS 12+. It isn’t clear whether there is an intention to add the option to target a specific OS version during an update, but at the rate tvOS is gaining access to existing management capabilities, it may only be a matter of time.
- Despite the rapid set of new features being made available, Apple provided a set of security capabilities that are critical for the platform to be successful in the enterprise. It started with the tenured ratings and content restrictions to prevent mature content from being accessible. It culminated with enhanced security for one of the most popular capabilities on Apple TV, AirPlay, with flexible passcode options and restricting what devices are allowed to pair with the TV.
As always, Apple continues to push the boundaries for their users in both the consumer and enterprise space. VMware is testing and experimenting with these changes over the next couple weeks so be on the lookout for additional information on the details of these changes!
If you are an existing customer, you can be prepared for all Apple updates by monitoring our extensive preparation articles at My Workspace ONE (formerly myAirWatch).