Sep
14
2012

Um. I’m not seeing where this is ‘creepy’ at all.

Or, rather (and contra Glenn), it’s not creepy when it comes to a company tablet:

When Apple releases iOS 6 next Wednesday, it will include “several powerful enterprise features that enhance the ease with which CIOs & IT departments can put mobile to work,” Zenprise said in a blog post.

For Fruit Ninja, Skype, or Angry Birds lovers, the most important feature may be something called App Lock. It lets corporate IT lock down the iPhone or iPad so that it runs just one predetermined application and new software cannot be installed by the user.

That will pave the way for a new generation of iPads that will work more like cash registers than tablets. “For example, if a retailer wants to use iPads to enhance the customer in-store experience, the iOS 6 app lock-out feature makes it so that the only app on the device will be the one for the job at hand,” Zenprise said in an e-mail message.

…which is a perfectly reasonable thing for a retailer to want from an in-store handheld tablet computer.  It’s a bad idea to use this feature on people’s personal tablets (or require them to activate that feature), of course; but the goal is to give employees tools that will help them do their jobs, not games that will help them avoid doing their jobs.

Moe Lane

PS: Note the caveats.  Company tablets, not-creepy.  Imposing lock-downs on other people’s tablets, creepy.

8 Comments

  • acat says:

    Not sure I agree, Moe. Once the feature is in the OS, what’s to stop some script kiddie from using it?

    If company X wants to use dedicated tablets, that’s fine .. let ‘em pay for a separate rev of iOS that has a lockdown feature … don’t put it where it can cause problems.

    Mew

  • Rob Crawford says:

    Apple lost me when they started down the “walled garden” path with their desktop OS.
    .
    But, yeah — I have no issue with corporate devices being locked down.

  • Robert M Mitchell Jr. says:

    Of course you don’t see how it’s creepy. You are a self starter, thus the blog. Those lacking in this trait are probably not so calm about their boss tracking their workload……

  • R.S. says:

    You are ignoring another reason entirely – the government regulations that pretty much require this. I work in IT in a small health clinic struggling to meet all of the various Federal requirements: HIPAA, HITECH, Meaningful Use, etc. As much as my medical staff would LOVE a tablet device for access to electronic health records there is no way we can do this without tight controls in place. This includes mandatory security policies and settings, control of applications and tight user authentication. We messed around with iPad two years ago and gave up because we couldn’t lock them down enough. There are several 3rd party applications/tools that would help (Citrix, VMware, mobile management platform, etc) but we just can’t afford those with our tight budget. In our tests the users would gleefully or “accidentally” work around what restrictions we did put in place. Its not that we dont like our employees or dont trust them, it’s just that I’m not willing to go to jail or pay a huge fine if there is a serious privacy or patient data breach or disclosure. Orange just isn’t my color. Right now my money is on testing out the upcoming Win8 tablets because they fully integrate into our infrastructure and existing security policies. But now I’ll check out the new Apple tools and see if they make any difference. I’m glad to see Apple accommodate the corporate world a bit more, I love the competition, but they have a long way to go. On the other hand I’m pretty sick of the Federal guidelines and regulations.

  • R.S. says:

    One more thing, this type of lock-down capability has existed in the Microsoft environment for nearly two decades. It’s only strange if you look at it through the Apple viewpoint.

  • Christine says:

    I’d assume this is pretty much what Blackberry/RIM has been offering for years…the opportunity to put a “policy” on top of the OS to add restrictions, tracking, etc.

  • Matt says:

    It’s actually a pretty fantastic feature. I can hand my ipad to my 1yo and she can play with Grover and Elmo and not get fussy because she left the app. The other big selling point Apple has used for this feature is autistic children – who really have issues when they leave the app that helps them communicate with the rest of the world.

    I’m not sure there’s currently a way to enable this feature remotely with Apple’s tools.

  • Neil Stevens says:

    Parents and people with employees know Moe is right here.

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