Let me break it down for you...
Apple Configurator and DEP accomplish a few of the same things. However it is the way in which they accomplish them, and the circumstances of your deployment which will determine if you will use one or the other. Or even both. I want us to try to get away from the notion of Apple Configurator vs DEP.
Let's start with Apple Configurator (The older brother of DEP).
Apple Configurator came around to accomplish a couple of key things...
- Supervise iOS Devices (If you do not know what this means, read my article on device supervision here)
- Create and Install Configuration Profiles (These are little lists of settings that the iOS device must obey)
- Install Apps without the need for Apple ID (This process has changed significantly between AC 1 and AC 2)
- Enroll iOS devices into a 3rd party MDM Software.
So... 30 devices at a time is nothing to scoff at. But what happens when you are the IT team that is responsible for firing off about a thousand iPads to your enterprise?
Enter... The Device Enrollment Program.
Lets make something crystal clear. The Device Enrollment Program is a web app, which connects to your customer account with Apple (Note that you must buy directly from Apple or an authorized reseller that supports DEP to take advantage of this).
The way it works, is when you purchase devices directly from Apple, you are able to accomplish the following. Except wirelessly, over the air. No carts, or cables required.
- Supervise iOS Devices upon activation. (This means when you turn on the iPad, it get's supervised)
- Enroll & LOCK your MDM Software (Notice that this says LOCK. That means that the MDM cannot be removed from the device if stolen. There is a reason only MDM can offer this)
Once your MDM is enrolled (which can be set as mandatory during set up) you can now push out configuration profiles and Apps, just like Apple Configurator.
Top reasons why this is super important:
1. Zero Touch Enrollment
2. Much faster deployment times.
3. No wasted time on manually configuring devices.Now why is this awesome?
- You can hand devices to your employees still in the wrapper, and they can set them up on their own, just as if they bought it themselves.
- You have complete confidence that the devices are properly enrolled in your MDM and secure.
- No more opening boxes, and sore fingers from manually setting up devices for hours... and hours... and hours...
Hopefully this gives you some clarity on the differences between Apple Configurator vs DEP. There are however, some key ways where Apple Configurator will be your best bet, and with the updates that came with iOS 9, they even work together on a different level, and make shared iOS deployments a snap. I have included a tip sheet below that you can download that clearly lays out the differences between the two.