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Apple's iOS 11 enterprise features are not monumental improvements over those in previous versions. But there are a few, plus some general updates that will benefit IT professionals and business workers.
The most important iOS 11 enterprise feature is the capabilities of the Device Enrollment Program (DEP) are now available on any Apple device -- not just those purchased from the manufacturer or its channel partners. This change should help companies that buy their Apple devices through other means, plus those that allow employees to bring their own iPhones, iPads and Macs to work.
Perhaps the most useful of the new iOS 11 enterprise features is full mobile device management (MDM) and DEP support for the Apple TV operating system, tvOS. Apple TV has been gaining momentum as a tool for displaying content from Apple devices on conference-room monitors. Full MDM and DEP support will give administrators no-touch setup capabilities, as well as the ability to configure enterprise tvOS apps and restrict features such as AirPlay.
From the user standpoint, Apple has rolled out several iOS 11 features that help streamline work, especially on the iPad. Chief among those is the new Files app, which allows you to access documents from recent apps and cloud storage services, such as iCloud, Box and Dropbox.
The new dock at the bottom of the iPad home screen makes multitasking much easier. A swipe up gives users access to recently opened apps, as well as apps that are already open on their other Apple devices. Speaking of multitasking, iOS has finally caught up with Android in that it allows Split View and Slide Over, which debuted in iOS 9 and received some user interface updates in iOS 11. These features are extremely helpful for many use cases in the enterprise, such as doing research in Safari while writing a report using Pages.
We may eventually look back and realize that the most influential of the iOS 11 enterprise features was the inclusion of ARKit, Apple's software development kit for augmented reality. AR is in its infancy, but with this release, it is immediately available on millions of devices. It is primarily seen in gaming apps for now, but more enterprise applications will come later.
Apple also built APIs for machine learning and machine vision into iOS 11. As more organizations figure out the proper use cases for building smart apps, this technology has the potential to be transformative.
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