Microsoft had already confirmed that Windows Intune 4, the long anticipated update to the company’s device management service was due out in early 2013.
Now the company has just released what it has labeled Wave D of Windows Intune, with expanded operating system support as well as direct (as in EAS-free) management of a range of mobile devices.
Perhaps the most important feature or this release is its modern philosophy of managing users and devices — the BYOD phenomena is gathering pace and global acceptance, and this new update brings Windows Intune more in tune (pun always intended) to Bring Your Own Devices schemes.
What this means is that instead of making devices part of a controlled and restricted environment, the service allows managers to understand what rights user have, and what tools they need to support their tasks.
All this while giving administrators the ability to control the software delivered through devices using a corporate store, while ensuring that the user devices are secure and the latest updates are applied.
Another important new feature in Intune Wave D is direct management of Windows Phone 8, Windows RT and iOS devices.
This frees administrators from delivering management through Exchange and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), essentially foregoing the requirement for an on-premise Exchange server.
Additional domain names can be added to Intune, though new ones need to be verified — except domains that are used with the company’s Office 365 or Azure services.
The service still utilizes the familiar Silverlight-based design theme, instead of the flat and simpler modern design philosophy that graces most of the company’s management tools.