Apple sent out an email on Friday with the news that they were changing the rules for the academic market. The company plans to reduce the number of steps needed to set up an iPad by allowing schools to assign and distribute apps to a device without an Apple ID.
The new rules and procedures should make it easier to to deploy iPads en mass and manage the apps, and is expected to go into effect this fall (in time for the new school year).
To simplify large deployments, including one-to-one and shared use, we want to make app distribution even easier. Today, Apple IDs are required in order to deliver apps and books to students. We are working to change this in the fall by allowing schools to assign and distribute apps to a device without an Apple ID. As currently planned, this will greatly reduce the number of steps needed to setup a device.
This change should eliminate the need to create generic Apple IDs solely for the purposes of getting content onto iPad. Schools will also have the option to prevent students from making personal purchases without approval.
We realize the complexity of obtaining parental consent for Apple ID for students under 13 can be a challenge, especially in large districts. We are working to change the Apple ID for Students program in 2016 – during the upcoming school year. With these planned changes schools will have the ability to create and manage Apple IDs on behalf of students that can be configured to access iCloud. It will also allow system administrators to reset student passwords. And, the new approach will still meet COPPA requirements.
It sounds like Apple is finally noticing that PCs, Chromebooks, and Android devices are all a lot easier to deploy than is the iPad. The problem, as it has always been, is that Apple ties many of its services to the hardware in the hopes that you'd buy a new device. That makes managing the devices a nightmare, in the words of one parent.
Or at least that is how Apple used to do things; what with the change to iWork for iCloud, and this email, it looks like Apple is finally figuring out that its decision to tie services closely to specific hardware has been holding it back.
image by flickingerbrad