Jamf Pro 10 Apple Device Management Suite Ready for Oct. 31 Debut

Originally scheduled to launch by June, the Apple device management application will help enterprise customers manage their Apple products.

Jamf Pro 10 Debut

MINNEAPOLIS—In October 2016 at its annual user conference here, Jamf first unveiled its plans to launch Version 10 of its Jamf Pro enterprise Apple management suite by June of 2017, with major new features, a restyled and improved user interface and other updates.

But the job turned out to be more complicated than the company expected and Jamf Pro 10 still hasn't debuted, prompting some customers to express their disappointment with company officials in recent months.

Jamf says it will finally release its new Jamf Pro version 10 on Oct. 31, bringing in a wide range of fixes and changes designed to make the suite easier to use for enterprise IT departments. The company announced the impending release of the Apple device management suite at the Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC) 2017 event here on Oct. 24, along with several other enhanced product and service offerings.

Jamf Pro 10's user interface update is the result of extensive user feedback on the performance of earlier versions of the product, which previously was named the Jamf Casper Suite.

The Jamf Pro management suite gives Apple device administrators the ability to oversee their iPhone, iPad, MacBook and other Apple device deployments to set policies, install Apple and app updates and software, and run their hardware with a unified approach for users.

Jamf Pro 10 now has "breadcrumbs," or on-screen icons that lead users to deeper features and controls, as well as collapsible navigation and context-aware warnings so IT administrators can better understand the application's new features.

The suite also gains improved patch management, which gives IT administrators automatic visibility into devices and required patches as well as purpose-built patch policies to automate the application of software patches across enterprise mobile device fleets.

The Jamf Self Service app catalog now enables organizations to brand their own logo, banner or document icons on customized versions of applications they load into the catalog for their users.

Dean Hager, Jamf's CEO, told eWEEK that the delays in the originally planned June 2017 general release of Jamf Pro 10 were due to unexpected difficulties in making some of the product's major improvements as well as Apple's January announcements about iOS upgrades it was planning for its devices.

Jamf had underestimated the length of time it would take to update its user interface framework to make the sweeping improvements it had planned, while Apple's updates were more expansive than Jamf expected, requiring more developer time to handle their changes, said Hager.

Jamf closely tracks Apple updates because the company prides itself about providing Jamf updates in lockstep with Apple as soon as new macOS, iOS, tvOS and other software updates are released.

That complication put Jamf's engineers on track to push the Jamf Pro 10 release even further back to mid-summer, but that timing would have been difficult for educational institutions, which wouldn't want to deploy a new version just as schools were re-opening for the fall, said Hager.

With another series of Apple products updates due to arrive in September, Jamf decided to push Jamf Pro 10 to an October release to let enterprise IT administrators keep up, said.

"When we originally said we'd release the software in the first half of 2017, we thought we had quite a buffer there," said Hager. "Could we have done the user interface changes in smaller increments and released it all sooner? Yeah, that was probably a bad plan upfront. But once we were committed to that schedule, we had to finish it that way and couldn't fold now."

Jamf also announced its newly launched Jamf Marketplace and Jamf Developer Program at the event. The marketplace is designed to showcase Jamf's latest integrations, apps and consultancies with partners, while the developer program is a new portal that provides easy access to Jamf’s API, web hooks and other resources in a single location to integrate third-party applications with Jamf Pro.