WWDC24 Recap – Apple Intelligence, OS Changes & MDM Updates

From the keynote to the final session, we’ve compiled all the highlights that admins and IT professionals need to know about, with a strong focus on Mac and iPad. For our valued end-users, there’s plenty for you too—we’ll start with the major announcements from the keynote.

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Apple Intelligence: The How Before the What

Despite years of developing AI-capable devices and integrating machine learning into all their OSs, the misconception that Apple was behind on AI was still prevalent. After last week’s keynote, we believe this confusion has been cleared up.

On-Device Models: Apple Intelligence will use on-device models by default, ensuring that most of your usage stays between you and your device.

Private Cloud Compute: For more complex requests, Apple now offers Private Cloud Compute. Utilizing custom Apple Silicon and a hardened operating system designed for privacy, Apple claims it is the most advanced security architecture ever deployed for cloud AI at scale. No one, not even Apple, will have access to PCC data in transit, at rest, or during active processing.

GPT-4o Integration: If your request exceeds what Private Cloud Compute can handle, you’ll have the option of using GPT-4o through a tightly controlled partnership with OpenAI, with user privacy prioritized. Usage originating from Apple Intelligence will not be viewable or accessible by OpenAI—not even for model training. Each usage requires your approval for data sharing, providing protections not included in the standard ChatGPT terms.

Ensuring the Safety of Apple Intelligence

With safety established, let’s explore what Apple Intelligence can do for you:

Siri: Equipped with personal context awareness, the ability to take action in and across apps, and product knowledge about your devices’ features and settings, Siri will assist you like never before. Enhancements include mid-sentence corrections when setting a timer or giving Home Automation commands.

Writing Tools: Enhanced language capabilities will help you find the right words everywhere you write. Summarize entire meetings in seconds, get the short version of long email chains, and focus only on what matters with prioritized notifications. Built into the OS, Writing Tools also work with third-party apps.

iPad’s Calculator App: Math Notes allows you to write out an equation with your Apple Pencil (or keyboard on Mac) and have Apple Intelligence provide the answer by writing an equals sign at the end. Complex calculations can be graphed, variables can be used, and even changed on the fly.

Image Generation: Create new visuals in the dedicated Image Playground app, turn text or your Contacts into custom Genmoji in messages, or remove unwanted background items from photos. Apple Intelligence can generate relevant images by reading adjacent text in the Notes app.

Managing Apple Intelligence in Schools

Note that only iPad Pro and Air support Apple Intelligence, so most school iPads won’t have this problem—at least until a new model comes out.

Operating Systems and Apple Intelligence

Let’s now examine how Apple Intelligence works behind the scenes across different operating systems:

Passwords: Apple password management has been moved out of the Settings app into a standalone app. This is a welcome development, especially in managed environments. While it’s user-controlled now, it provides hope that one day we’ll be able to manage it on behalf of users for work or school credentials.

macOS Sequoia: iPhone + Mac is already a winning combo in business and with school staff. iPhone Mirroring for Mac takes it to an entirely new level, allowing you to view and use your iPhone’s screen on your Mac’s display, receive iPhone notifications alongside macOS ones, drag and drop files, and even hear iPhone audio through your Mac speakers—all wirelessly and while your iPhone remains locked or in Standby Mode on a MagSafe charger on your desk.

Video Calling Enhancements: Building on macOS Sonoma, Sequoia brings more features for video calling. Presenter Preview shows what you’ll share before you share it. Native controls for background blurring and virtual backgrounds, powered by Apple’s leading video segmentation, are also included.

iPadOS and Smart Script

Smart Script: Writing with Apple Pencil in Notes, Smart Script learns your handwriting style, making even the most hastily scribbled text legible by gently correcting it. You can paste text into a note in your handwriting, edit and rearrange handwritten text as easily as typed text, and more.

FaceTime’s SharePlay: SharePlay abilities now include the ability to draw on the other caller’s screen and, with their permission, take control of their device. This feature is especially useful for providing free tech support to family and friends.

UI Updates: A redesigned tab bar provides key functionality floating at the top of the app, transitioning into the sidebar when you need to dig deeper.

Hiding and Locking Apps: Users can lock an app, requiring Face or Touch ID authentication to use it. They can also hide apps, removing them from the Home Screen and main App Library views. Admins can control these features through MDM.

Apple Vision Pro: Australian Release and visionOS 2

Release Date: July 12 is the day we can get our hands (and heads) on the world’s most advanced headset.

visionOS 2 Features: Wide and Ultrawide options for spatial displays, video breakthrough for Apple’s Magic Keyboard, Bluetooth mouse support, more ways to share your spatial experience, and AirPlay Receiver capabilities are included.

Device Management Updates

Managed Apple Accounts: Enhanced controls for Apple Accounts on your domain, including the ability to ‘capture’ personal Apple Accounts using your domain. Managed Apple Accounts with ‘Manage Devices’ privileges can now remove Activation Lock from organization-owned devices.

Apple School & Business Manager Visibility: Apple Watch and Apple Vision Pro management abilities are enhanced with ABM and ASM visibility, enabling Automated Device Enrollment for Apple Vision Pro.

Declarative Device Management: Software Update for Mac, iPad, and iPhone is entirely DDM. Admins should prioritize learning the ins and outs of the new way of updating devices.

Beta Testing Management: MDMs can now manage beta testing, supporting remote enrollment, version handling, status reports, and token-based device addition.

Apps & Books API: MDM vendors will include access to a new API to provide more information on your Apple School or Business Manager content.

MDM and AI Controls

MDM and Assessment Mode controls will prevent undesired use of AI functionality in environments like schools. This ensures that Apple Intelligence assists with instruction and learning without interfering during assessments.

macOS Security and Management

Sequoia Updates: New security options at enrollment, including support for Passkeys and physical security keys, such as Yubikeys. Extensible SSO with Kerberos gets new keys, and Platform SSO expands to require authentication for FileVault, the Lock Screen, and the login window.

External Drives Control: Access to external or network drives can now be enforced by MDM, allowing or blocking access and limiting mounting to read-only drives.

Local Network Permissions: Third-party apps must now receive user permission to interact with devices on the local network.

Virtual Machines: Macs running as virtual machines can now sign in to iCloud and use the Erase All Contents and Settings command.

System Settings: The Profile section is renamed to MDM. Battery health is now a reported status item.

iPadOS Management Features

Admins can control hiding and locking apps, in-house app management, eSIM configurations, private cellular payloads, and tweaks to Stolen Device Protections.

Classroom and Assessment Tools

Classroom Utility: The Classroom utility gets more flexible, with new functionality available with iPadOS 17.4 and macOS 14.4.

Assessment Apps: Developers of iPad assessment apps can authorize additional apps for use during assessments, available with iPadOS 17.6.

Apple TV Updates

AirPlay Receivers: AirPlay receivers like Apple TV will no longer advertise their MAC address. Other AirPlay payload changes include the allow list accepting device names, and Mac support for device name/password linking.

visionOS 2: Enterprise and Education Use

Device Enrollment: Automated Device Enrollment support for Vision Pro, alongside Enrolment SSO, device lock, Activation Lock, passcode management, and more.

Shortcuts Enhancements

Status and Notifications: View more information on the status of Shortcuts, be notified of errors, and see the progress of each Action in the Shortcuts app.

New Actions: Install Documents to deploy files and documents to supported apps, and Wait until charged to prevent a Shortcut from completing until the device reaches a specified charge level.

Xcode and Embedded Swift

AI Boost: Xcode gets AI features to make app creation easier, even for those with little coding experience.

Embedded Swift: Swift coding for small processors like the ESP32 Wi-Fi board, linking coding theory with real-world applications.

Time to Get Testing

You don’t need a Developer account to access beta software—head to beta.apple.com and sign in with your Managed Apple Account from Apple School or Business Manager.

MDM Support

Investigate if your MDM solution supports new OSs at launch and new functionality ahead of launch. Jamf, our biggest MDM partner, often provides Day 0 support for new OS versions.

Get in touch with your Compnow Account Manager to discuss making the most of these changes and updates in you’re environment.

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