iOS 9.3 Preview
Presentation by: Tom Bridge
iOS 9.3, now in beta (available from developer.apple.com), is a massive release for those people who are managing iPads in an institutional setting, especially from the educational standpoint.
With iOS 9.3, iPads can now be assigned to multiple users who can sign in & sign out and maintain their data on the device.
Apple has released a website with all the features of iOS 9.3 that has some information, but much of the information is yet to come through briefings with your representatives at Apple.
It is my understanding that iOS 9.3’s main features for classrooms will require an MDM of some sort, as well as Device Enrollment Program setup for the devices.
There are four major tent poles for classroom users:
- Shared iPad Ability
- Classroom App for Teachers
- Apple School Manager
- Managed Apple IDs
Shared iPad Ability
The Shared iPad is described as:
When a 1:1 student-to-iPad ratio isn’t possible, Shared iPad offers an elegant solution that lets students enjoy the benefits of having their own iPad in whatever classroom they’re in. They simply log in to any iPad, and their content is ready to go.
That would generally indicate that you’ll have a group of iPads that have many user identifiers on them that can be invoked with a PIN or password. The data would then be securely segmented and stored on the device, assigned to the AppleID of the student. My guess is that this is the real reason that El Capitan’s Caching Service now stores iCloud Data, since this will now allow an AppleID’s data to live local to the network as well as in the cloud. Still, many questions here, many many questions.
Classroom App for Teachers
If you’ve seen Casper Focus, which can help teachers see what their kids are up to, within a given app, Classroom is that, but at the root device level. You can monitor any given iPad, see what apps the other users are focusing on, and send any one iPad’s screen up to an AirPlay device remotely. The tool will allow teachers to lock an app in place for all students in a classroom, or also to reset a given user’s password.
I suspect this is going to be a hugely powerful tool in the hands of the right teacher, and something that can maybe stretch a user’s abilities elsewhere.
Apple School Manager
This is for the IT admin. It’s a centralized portal for managing VPP, DEP and AppleIDs, and it’s designed to be connected to Student Information Systems to provide the ability to suck in user data directly without an export process. ASM will also be used for authoring iTunes U content that can be pushed to individual classes. I cannot wait to see what this looks like in practice.
Managed Apple IDs
Who’s ever had to create more than a few Apple IDs at a time? Hundreds? Thousands maybe? This is the tool for that, and it looks like it will handle import, password reset, auditing, and more.
- MacStories on iOS 9.3
- Connected Podcast with guest Fraser Speirs
Payload Free Packages
Presentation by: Rich Trouton
Payload-Free Packages are a great way to run scripts where you can’t depend on the user to interact with the script correctly, or where you just want an easy deployment object for use with your current deployment system.
These packages come in two formats: Bundle and Flat.
Bundle-style packages are created as a Mac OS X bundle that contains scripts and a description of the package requirements and behavior. You can define six different types of scripts for use with Bundle packages: preflight, preinstall, pre upgrade, post install, post upgrade, and post flight.
However, for payload-free packages, there are only preflight and postflight scripts.
Flat packages only have preinstall and postinstall scripts, but they serve the same functions, they just have different names.
Any script in either package format must return an exit status of zero, otherwise the installation will fail. One way to ensure that this will occur is to make sure your script ends in
There are several installer script variables that function in payload free packages:
- $0 – the path to the script
- $1 – the path to the package
- $2 – the target of the install
- $3 – the target volume
Important Note: If your system management tool assigns $3 to something other than the install volume, it will win. This may be a challenge if your management tool is inflexible in this regard.
Payload-free flat packages may not leave installer receipts. Apple says “operating as intended.” So, if this is your preferred platform, use the Payload-Free Package Creator.app
Either Monday February 15th in the evening (President’s Day) or Saturday February 20th during the day. Please vote on the location of the next meeting using this handy Google Form. The meeting with occur in Virginia, with a host to be determined. If you want to host, please contact me off list!
March will be on Saturday, March 19th, and will be a social event in the District. If you’d like to propose a location, or to host, please contact me off list!