iPad Rollout tips

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

iPad Setup Resources

I've been doing a lot of iPad deployment lately, and speaking about iPad management to a variety of groups.  I thought I'd share some links that I feel are very helpful to those considering iPads in their schools, or that are already rolling them out.

A good thing to know... how to create an iTunes account without a credit card associated with the account - Apple Knowledge Base article

New information - iOS 7 is going to give us new capabilities and tools that will be very helpful to schools!! iOS 7 education page

You will have many woes unless the proper ports are open through your firewall for Apple services - their push server for instance..  this Well Known Ports page will  be helpful... 

I highly recommend that you read Apples iOS 6 Deployment guide to help you decide how you wish do deploy the devices. It is available as one of the files to be found at the following link. It explains the basic best practices deployment models, VPP, and even contains an appendix with some wireless info for the network geeks to ponder over. 
Apples education IT resources

Loved this blog post, it makes several great points.  I cannot emphasize enough that schools shouldn't do technology by checkbook - careful thought and planning should go into this process, before buying anything.
5 Mistakes schools make

If you are planning to do any number of iPads over 20, get signed up for the VPP program with Apple.  Discounts!!!  And an easy way to manage purchases.  There are some gotchas, but joining is a must IMHO.
Volume Purchase Program

For managing carts of iOS devices, for preliminary setup before individual distribution, even for preparing them for Mobile Device Management systems - you have got to have Apple Configurator!  Free from the App Store, you'll need a Mac running 10.7 or newer.  

The fellow that writes the Krypted blog is an Apple Genius.. well he doesn't work at the store, but he's a real genius. Excellent article on how to use Configurator in this link, but check out his blog, lots of gems there.

Found this article interesting.  Apple sold more iPads than Macs to schools in a recent quarter. And it was a record setting quarter for Mac sales.  The tablet revolution is upon us, and the iPad leads the pack!
Apple is replacing Macs in schools with iPads

If you've heard me speak about iPad management with Apple configurator, I always mention the importance of backing up your "mothership" i.e. synch station with Time Machine.  Following the link I've excerpted a couple of paragraphs from the article to reinforce why this is so critical.  Makes the cost of an external hard drive look pretty cheap!
Backing up the Configurator "mothership"

Additional Information

If you have supervised devices with Apple Configurator and you lose the Apple Configurator data files, the devices will still be supervised by the Mac that is running Configurator, but Apple Configurator will not be able to reinstall app backups or user data onto those supervised devices.

It is especially important to back up Apple Configurator information if you are using VPP codes. After a VPP code has been redeemed, only the Apple Configurator database keeps a record of what device that code was redeemed for. If this database is lost, and the app is deleted from the device, Apple Configurator will not be able to reuse the redeemed code in order to install the app, and you will need to purchase and redeem additional codes to replace the app on a device.

If there's an iOS device that just refuses to play nice, unsupervise it, and follow the proceedure in this Knowledge Base article to reset it.
Unable to update or restore

This little device, while a bit pricey, will allow you to charge and sync 15 devices at a time. You may be able to convert an existing cart to an iPad cart using a couple of these. Or just set the device on a table and forgo the cart route altogether.
16 Port Charge Station

Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems are the way to go with larger deployments, they let you push out management changes "over the air" where Configurator requires that the devices be synched.  There are several out there, but Casper is probably the most popular solution.
Casper by JAMF

A really attractive alternative to the paid MDM solutions by JAMF or MobileIron is the MDM system by Meraki.  They make really great network devices that are cloud managed. They've extended that concept to cloud management of IOS, other mobile platforms and computers, and its free and works pretty well! Sign up for a free account and start playing. Not quite as capable as other solutions but did you see the FREE part??  Go to the bottom of the following page and sign up.
Meraki MDM

Apple provides an alternative solution with its 10.8 Mountain Lion server.  Starting with 10.7 Lion server, you can manage settings on your iOS devices using push technology incorporated into Server.  It also provides an easy WebDav server for transferring and storing files.  The advantage of other MDM systems are their ability to create  self service portals for application distribution.  Lion or Mountain Lion Server might be worth a look however, cost wise. The link is to an excellent book that provides good guidance to setting it up.
Managing iOS Devices with Lion Server
This is a pretty long list of resources I found to be important. I'll add more here as I come across them and as I learn more tricks and tips out there in the field.  I hope you find them to be useful.

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