Apple has released a free tool that helps organizations configure and deploy large numbers of iPads and iPhones.
“Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution,” reads Apple’s description of the software.
According to Apple’s website, the tool lets you configure up to thirty iOS devices at a time. “Apple Configurator can be used by larger organizations and businesses to set up new devices, install enterprise apps, and enroll each device with a Mobile Device Management solution for remote management by an IT administrator,” the site reads.
“It is perfect for the classroom or student lab where devices need to be quickly refreshed and kept up to date with the correct settings, approved policies, apps and data. Apple Configurator can also be used to personalize devices with data and documents for specific users.”
The tool was first noticed by The Next Web, which compared it to software that Apple itself uses to reset devices into retail showrooms.
The iPad and the iPhone were originally billed as consumer devices, but they’ve found their way into businesses in large numbers. For instance, Life Technologies — a company that biotech products services – tells us that it has recently purchased about 900 iPads for its worldwide sales staff. “Being early to the game here with the iPad — with its interactive applications that are so easy to use — we find that training cycle our sales staff is relatively small,” Life Technologies CEO Joe Beery tells Wired.
According to Chris O’Leary, who oversees the company’s mobile devices, Life Technologies used a third-party to configure the iPads and load them with various applications, including a tool called Roambi, which grabs business data from tools like Excel, SAP Crystal Reports, or Salesforce.com and coverts it into graphical reports for viewing on the iPad and the iPhone.
Roambi is just one of many iOS business apps that Apple highlights on its website. A separate page discusses the use of iPhones and iPads inside the business world, and this includes various case studies, including profiles involving United Airlines and GE.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.