WWDC 2023: the good surprises announced by Apple!

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WWDC 2023: the good surprises announced by Apple!
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The Apple WorldWide Developers Conference 2023 has just come to a close. Apple administrators and IT experts were able to discover a wealth of new features and good news!

Focus on the main announcements made by Apple at this annual showcase for the brand.

Apple ID management on your own domain

This year, Apple is making Apple IDs more versatile with updates to Continuity, Apple Wallet and iCloud Keychain.

Administrators also benefit from an extra level of control to encourage their users to connect to the applications and services they need. 🔑

The management of Apple IDs is also becoming "democratized", enabling them to be used in more situations.

A key advantage is the ability to separate personal and business data when registering a device. This feature is ideal for BYOD operation. 💻

Apple now also lets you manage your own Apple IDs, linked to your own domain. You can federate them with an Identity provider such as Azure AD, Okta or Google Cloud Identities.

What's more, restrictions that were previously restrictive in a professional environment have finally been lifted. You can now :

  • associate a bank card for Apple Pay;
  • benefit from the following features: Handoff, Universal Clipboard, Continuity Camera and Universal Control.

Your Apple Business Manager administrator can now enable or disable features, making these accounts much more useful.

As far as Azure AD and Google Cloud Identities are concerned, third-party identity providers are now compatible (provided they use OpenID Connect).

iCloud Keychain support

Another useful enhancement to managed credentials is the addition of iCloud Keychain support. This enables IT professionals to automatically deploy access codes and authentication keys on managed devices. This is a significant step towards eliminating the need for passwords in the enterprise.

This feature also builds on the ability, also announced at WWDC 2023, for user groups to add and modify passwords and authentication keys, enabling all group members to stay up to date.

Registering a device with your MDM, via a user account, on macOS

Until recently, subscribing to an MDM solution involved manually adding a configuration profile to the device. ✍️

Since 2021, it has been possible to enroll a device on an MDM using a managed Apple ID. Apple is going one step further: this feature will now be available on macOS Sonoma, and is expected to completely replace profile enrolment in the future.

Update control via DDM

Recently, Apple has introduced significant changes to the way updates are managed, through the use of Declarative Device Management (DDM).

In the past, MDM solutions were consultative, where the control center sent a request every evening to perform a check-up on the devices.

However, with the advent of DDM, devices automatically perform checks on every detected action. This makes them proactive and autonomous. This means they can take corrective action and report job status to the server themselves.

This evolution shows significant progress in terms of responsiveness and information updates, improving the efficiency and speed of the update process for Apple devices.

Easy device reset

A new feature allows you to :

  • wipe easily and completely; 🖥️
  • push a Wi-Fi profile before registering;
  • and automatically save it so that it arrives directly on the home screen without the need for any intervention.

In other words, with a simple MDM command, you can :

  • wipe one or more devices;
  • fully deploy them, including the installation of ;
  • all without having to physically connect them!

The only limitation is that it will not be possible to force a default language. The language previously used on the device will be used after the reset.

On-the-fly user account creation with Platform SSO

The "Platform SSO" feature aims to enable the use of enterprise accounts hosted by identity providers (IdPs) such as Azure AD, Google Cloud Identities, Jumpcloud, OneLogin and others, as a replacement for logging into Active Directory.

In future, macOS should offer the possibility of dynamically creating a local user account from the login window, based on information provided by the identity provider, in a similar way to Jamf Connect.

Automatic association of a device with a specific MDM solution by adding it to Apple Business

Recently, after adding a device via Apple Configurator, you no longer need to return to Apple Business Manager to remove it from the Apple Configurator list and associate it with the MDM solution of your choice.

Indeed, the Configurator app for iOS can now be configured to automatically assign a default MDM solution to any new device added, greatly simplifying the process. 🎉

Automated device registration on Mac

Many companies want to ensure that certain security configurations are in place even before the Mac is registered and the user logs on for the first time.

The aim is to enable FileVault and ensure that the Mac is running a specific version of the operating system. ⌨️

Apple announced the following enhancements at WWDC: macOS 14 enables your MDM solution to require FileVault activation during the Setup Wizard.

The recovery key can then be shared with the end-user during configuration, or managed by the MDM system.

The MDM may require the device to be running a specific version of the operating system in order to register, meaning that a user cannot access the company's services until they have completed the update. 🦾

This works by using JSON to inform MDM of the operating system version running on the device.

If a new version is required, the user will be guided through the update process.

5G network and private network slicing

Perhaps your company uses a private 5G or LTE network?

These networks support the service levels and latency required by the latest-generation enterprise technologies. They also provide network connectivity over wider areas than Wi-Fi can offer. ✅

iPads already support private LTE and 5G networks, not least thanks to the deployment of MDM-based eSIM.

This capability is now also available on iPhones, along with support for standalone 5G private networks.

Apple has also made the use of these networks more energy-efficient. SIM-based support is activated only when necessary, thanks to geolocation. So it's good for the planet! 🌳

Finally, Apple has introduced support for 5G network slicing. This is an emerging technology designed to efficiently manage the growing demands of connected services and devices.

Relays for secure access

Apple has also introduced a new way of providing secure access to corporate network resources: Relays.

Supported natively on Apple devices, these are secure proxies. Apple claims that :

  • provide a better user experience;
  • are easier to manage than traditional VPN services. 👍

They can also be configured using MDM.

Shortcuts come to IT pros

Apple has developed a series of Shortcuts for Apple Configurator.

These "shortcuts" include actions for :

  • update ;
  • restore ;
  • delete ;
  • and prepare iPhones and iPads.

At the WWDC conference, Apple demonstrated a use for these Shortcuts in which a series of them were used to configure and provision an iPad.

Apple is encouraging MDM developers to integrate with these Shortcuts. We can therefore expect Apple to automate the configuration and management process as much as possible.

Video conferencing with new macOS features

The latest macOS update integrates innovative videoconferencing features to optimize business productivity.

Here are a few innovations:

  • the presenter overlay puts you in the spotlight during video calls by displaying you above the shared content;
  • it becomes possible to move around freely and give presentations in a natural way;
  • you can add animated effects for non-verbal interaction during calls, with the "Reactions" feature.

These features are compatible with leading videoconferencing applications, providing tools for engagement and feedback. Innovative video effects enhance communication and strengthen the impact of virtual presentations. Combined with the performance of Apple's Silicon processors and the stability of macOS, these enhancements offer indispensable productivity tools for successful remote meetings and collaboration.

Lots of new features, accessible via Rzilient

In conclusion, Apple's 2023 developer conference was rich in announcements of new features that will delight administrators and IT experts specializing in the Apple ecosystem.

Hardware suppliers such as Apple and Microsoft are demonstrating that the subject of optimizing solutions to better manage hardware is now a preoccupation.

The objectives are to simplify and automate, to enable more economical and responsible management.

The combination of Apple's technological advances and the Rzilient platform offers exciting prospects for transforming the experience of those involved in enterprise hardware.

Written by

Mathieu Maréchal

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