In an earlier post (Considerations for deploying the AppleTV in your school or enterprise) I pointed out that there needed to be better options for centralized management and a more robust way to deal with passwords. Apple’s taken steps to improve both of these.
Prior to the 5.1 update you could set a password to control AirPlay access to your AppleTV. Once entered into the iPad the password was stored in the device. While this provided a layer of access control and security it didn’t prevent someone with the password from taking control of the device during a presentation or inadvertently hijacking the AppleTV while on the network.
With the 5.1 release Apple has introduced an onscreen passcode that is required to before you can begin AirPlaying to the device. It also prohibits the hijacking of the device while someone is connected to it and an added level of security. It is important to note that iOS 6 is required in order for the onscreen passcode to work so plan accordingly if you have a number of devices to update.
One early concern we had during testing was the connection time-out between the AppleTV and the connected iPad. We found this to be around a minute once the iPad were put in sleep mode unless the person were AirPlaying music at which point the device would remain connect for as long as it was on the same network.
The addition of Configurator support for the AppleTV is a good first step in providing enterprise configuration support. This support however is limited by the fact that the AppleTV must be physically connected to a device to load the configuration profile.
It’s clear that Apple’s first priority with its device it with the consumer market. When it comes to school or the larger enterprise we are often left trying to put a square peg into a round hole. With these two latest updates to the AppleTV software and iOS 6 Apple has begun to shave down the corners on the square and making it not such a hard push to get it in the hole.