Mac lovers the world over cheered this week when Apple Inc. made the surprise announcement that it was making its new operating systems, Mac OS X Mavericks free and backward compatible as far back as the 2007 iMac. While the new OS comes with many enterprise-class features, many IT administrators can’t help but cringe at the prospect of Mavericks mania in the workplace.

Apple evidently hopes to replicate its successful release of iOS 7 for mobile device which was also released free. Just five days after Apple rolled out iOS 7, more than 200 million iPhones and iPads were running on the new platform.

From a bring-your-own-device standpoint, Apple has addressed many enterprise concerns such as mobile device management (MDM enrollment, corporate and personnel own device issues and advanced password policies, according to Tom Kemp, CEO identity management software firm Centrify.

However, some IT departments feel that Apple had not given them enough time to prepare for a possible wave of Maverick-powered devices in the enterprise, according to a report on the online technology publication,

There are reports that some IT departments are cautioning or “pleading” with employees not perform the Mavericks upgrade until IT has had a chance to test the new OS out.

Among their concerns are will Microsoft Office, printers, Wi-Fi, virtual private network clients and other software and peripherals continue to work as expected with Mavericks.

Apple is doing a great job with backward compatibility, but there will also be a significant surge of updates from other software companies that release with support for Mavericks, according to Jason Wudi, CTO of software vendor JAMF. JAMF makes software for enterprise management of Apple devices.

Wudi said having access to tools, software and support tested with and around Mavericks is critical to many IT organizations.
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  1. I can sympathize with companies, it’s hard to set time aside to test the new operating system, especially before it comes out. However, it’s not impossible and it’s not expensive. For $99 an admin can download and install the latest developer version of the latest OS release from Apple for testing. Any System Admin that has to deal with OS X will benefit from doing basic testing on the development version, which may even give them enough information to convince users to not upgrade. It also allows the system admin a chance to ask Apple to fix their issues before the public release with a bug report. I’d much rather tell users that we’ve tested the entire system and they can or can not upgrade based upon the results, not just because I’ve failed to get around to testing it before it’s release.


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