iDevice Support in W.A. Catholic Sector

It is great to have a sector that is activily persuing and working with the new devices. After hearing some of the trouble some other states are having I feel lucky to be supported and good to have people that are being active in trying to solve problems.

The following is an extract from an system bulletin received today

Devices in CathEdNet
For the purpose of this discussion the range of Apple portable devices includes iPods, iPhones, iPads, and iTouches. Apple's range of portable multipurpose devices is steadily finding a home in Catholic schools across the state. As more and more educators seek to implement these devices into their learning environments, it has become clear that they do not work within CathEdNet in the same way as they do over a 3G or home network. We have been working closely with both Editure and Apple regarding the issues and now we have a clearer picture regarding the use of these devices through our proxy service.

For each application to work within CathEdNet, the application needs to have proxy authentication support. In mid June 2010 Apple released a new operating system (iOS4) for a number of these Devices. This has meant that native Apple applications now handle proxy authentication better than they did previously. The problem is that non-native (third party) applications will often not conform to the Apple API authentication standard.

Some examples of the change that iOS4 has made:

.   The Apple App Store now works for purchases and upgrades of applications.
.   The Mail application now works well using a variety of email protocols
.   Google maps now works well.

Third party applications are a different story. Since Apple does not produce these applications, they have no control over whether the applications have been written to support our need for authentication.

Apple provide the API's to developers to employ proxy support into their applications but if the developers choose not to build this support into their product, then the application will not work within CathEdNet or any environment that uses authentication. Before purchasing an application to use in a CathEdNet school it is advised that you contact the developer and ask whether proxy support has been implemented into the application.

Ultimately the choice is between running with a system that has internet authentication (supports internet filtering) as opposed to the need to have access to the third party applications that will only run if the authentication and filtering systems are turned off.

At the time of writing this article, the release of iOS4 for the iPad is not yet available. It is expected to be available some time near October/November 2010.


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