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Essential Deployment Tools

Apple Configurator

Apple introduced a new tool in March of 2012 to assist with mass deployment and management of iOS devices in an educational or business environments.
From the Apple App Store:
Apple Configurator can be used by larger organizations and businesses to set up new devices, install enterprise apps, and enroll each device with a Mobile Device Management solution for remote management by an IT administrator. It is perfect for the classroom or student lab where devices need to be quickly refreshed and kept up to date with the correct settings, approved policies, apps and data. Apple Configurator can also be used to personalize devices with data and documents for specific users.

Link to Apple Configurator Mac App Store

iTunes

iTunes was originally released as a computer media player back on January 9th, 2001. It has evolved quite a bit since then, and although its not the best tool for mass iPad deployment it can still get the job done. Until the release of Apple Configurator, iTunes was the primary method to set up and manage iPads both for personal and professional use.

Link to Apple iTunes Page

Xcode

Xcode is Apple’s development environment used to create apps for both the Mac and iOS platforms. You’re probably saying “I’m not going to be writing any apps.” Well Xcode can be used for more than just that. You can use it to push out mass firmware updates. Xcode can install an iOS firmware update on at least 30 device at one time (not sure if there is a maximum) unlike iTunes which can only update the firmware on 1 device at a time.

Link to Apple Xcode Page