All I Want for Christmas is My Apple ID

December 5th, 2014Mobility

An Apple ID is the login you use for just about everything you do with Apple. It is free and millions of people have one.  Many of us think of the Apple ID as something that’s required to set up our shiny new Apple devices, but it is so much more: It is also about you, your alliances and who you are. The received wisdom is that Apple owners tend to have more spare cash and desire to have the latest and greatest things first.  As a result, the fact that you have an Apple ID is of great importance to online retailers.

Devices come and go, however what sustains are the ongoing services. Apple recently announced a deal that will make it easier for the 4.5 billion Chinese UnionPay card holders to transact business via their iPhones.  Customers can easily link their Apple ID with a UnionPay debit or credit card for “one-tap” purchases. Apple already has hundreds of millions of credit card numbers on file. This deal gives it access to an addressable market measured in billions. Unisys CISO Dave Frymier predicts “retailers rapidly adopting solutions like Apple Pay because they are easier to use than a credit card.”

Although Android had 85% of the Worldwide Smartphone OS market Share in 2014 Q3,  Apple continues to dominate with  86% share of handset industry profits.  And in the enterprise, iOS now accounts for 69% of all mobile device activations, compared to 29% for Android and 1% for both Windows Phone and everything else.

For these reasons, understanding the Apple ID has become increasingly important to the enterprise.

What is an Apple ID?
Today’s  most widely used features and services that use Apple ID include: AirDrop, Apple Pay, App Store, Apple Developer programs, Apple Online Store, Apple ID for Students, Apple Retail services and programs, Apple Store, Apple Support Communities, Apple TV, CarPlay, Continuity, FaceTime, Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, Game Center, HealthKit, HomeKit,  iBooks Store, iChat, iCloud, iMessage, iTunes Genius, iTunes Home Sharing, iTunes Match, iTunes Radio, iTunes Store, iTunes U, Jobs at Apple, Keychain, Mac App Store, My Apple ID, My Support Profile, Photo Print Products, Touch ID, Volume Purchase Program, and the WatchKit.

As you can see Apple ID is a driver license to a growing list of service destinations – and the mother ship is not the iTunes Store, it is iCloud. It is the central framework where powerful service integration will occur.  So, your Apple ID is going to become increasingly important to how you connect to people and things around you. This can mean sharing health and fitness information, to opening your garage door.  The simple reality is that Apple developed the Apple ID over time into something that is tightly integrated into the Apple user experience.


The Apple ID is a challenge for enterprises because it represents the next evolution of consumerization of IT by moving from BYOD to BYOX (Identity, P2P networks, cloud services, rich messaging services, and integration with a growing number of peripherals).

Some enterprises have taken steps to create Apple IDs in bulk using scripts so their users won’t need to create and manage them. However, our recommendation is to follow Apple’s advice and have users enter a personal Apple ID into corporate-owned iOS devices and then enroll those devices in an MDM. In this layered enterprise approach you treat apps differently:  managed apps are installed using iOS MDM protocols, and unmanaged apps are the installed by the user independently and directly through Apple’s App store (using their Apple ID).

IT can focus on what’s most important — helping employees transform the way they work. This means assisting the user to personalize their devices and services.  This new IT mind set can offer enterprises a common ground to educate about risks and the need for data protection boundaries. Productivity is what is driving the growth of mobile devices and more employees will be using mobile devices exclusively. The more flexible and open IT can be, the better the chance users will accept those policies. The position an enterprise has on the Apple ID is another litmus test in consumerization. Allowing users to select apps and build the workflows that work best for their specific needs and work methods will soon be the norm.

Managing iOS devices using this layered enterprise approach will not be easy as often security is sacrificed for productivity. Apple has increasingly made user privacy a top selling point noting that the company is interested in user experience, not in mass data collection tied to user profiles that define social networks like Facebook and Google+. With iOS 8, Apple tied the device encryption key to the device in a way that it is not accessible to other parts of the system, to Apple or the Department of Justice. (For more information refer to Apple’s iOS Security Guide.)

Unisys predicts a growing need for the enterprise to address the challenges and opportunities of consumerization and is helping clients develop a layered enterprise approach to mobility that takes into account subtle nuances such as the growing impact of the Apple ID. As part of this strategy, we recommend thinking about your people as the new element of “mission critical”. We also see the importance of identifying the various personas in your organization.

Today, people critical is the new mission critical. Are you ready for this new world?

Tags-   Apple BYOD BYOX Consumerization of IT Mission critical Mobility People Critical