iPad deployment: Steps taken with first deployment

Notes reminding me of the steps taken at a very small deployment of 4 iPads at ATMS.

I prepared the dedicated iPad sync station by creating a new user account on the computer and logging in. This created a clean iTunes library for me to start with. In iTunes preferences I disabled automatic syncing of all devices and then disabled automatic backup of devices as well.

I downloaded the apps I wanted to include on all of the devices and synced them to what would become my master device. I then organized the apps using folders.
I learned that if a device password is set, it will not be restored to other iPads so this is something that could be set after the fact if desired.
I also learned that if a wireless configuration is set, it too would not be restored to other iPads, so it should be set after cloning is complete.
These are things that can be set more efficiently using configuration profiles created in iPhone configuration utility.
At this time I could configure settings for some apps on iPad. For example if I set the Firstclass server address, it would remain after a being cloned.
At this time you could configure any restrictions you wanted, but I am not sure if all of them would remain after being cloned. Perhaps it would be better to apply these settings with a configuration profile as profiles can easily be removed.
Once the master is ready I removed all old device backups in iTunes.
I now took a device backup of the master iPad in iTunes.

I then backed up all files needed to restore the itunes library should it become lost or changed.

I Restored backup to new device.
Renamed new device.
Applied configuration profiles.

I noticed though, that installing configuration profiles via the usb cable will cause iTunes to prompt for a password to encrypt the backup of the device the next time it is plugged into the sync station. This is because a configuration profile from iPhone configuration utility is signed & encrypted when installed via USB.
You can email an unsigned/unencrypted profile and install from Mail, or you can place this profile on a webserver and install via Safari. It will show as “Unverified”, but will not force encrypted iTunes device backups.
If you do choose to install the profiles via usb, you could provide a password to encrypt the password when prompted the first time and then check the box that remembers the password. Or you could manually set up the wireless configuration on each device and then connect to a web page that has the rest of your profiles and install them through safari.

These iPads were prepared as demos for the teachers. They were loaded with educational apps that focused on different topics, like math, science, and social studies. They will be passed around to different teachers for a few days so they can get a chance to play with them a little bit. Teachers are being instructed during this demo time not to plug the iPad into their own computer or the content could be erased.

When you sync an iPad to a computer, what is actually happening is that the iPad is syncing with the contents of one iTunes library. When you sync you are making the content of both devices the same. So in order to maintain the content on your iPad, the same content needs to exist in your iTunes library. If you take the iPad home and plug it into a different computer, with a different iTunes library that has different content and try to sync, iTunes will warn you that the device is synced to another library and that if you continue to sync you will replace the content on this iPad with the contents in this library, and thus removing content that is not common to both libraries. So to make it easy I just tell people that are using an iPad that is part of a set that was mass imaged, that it needs to be synced only with the original sync station, and individual users who set up and maintain their own iPad that they need to choose one computer to always sync with.

Now there are a few exceptions to the rule. If the iPad you have was set up on one computer and only has apps synced to it, you can plug it into another computer(your home computer for example) and adjust the app, photo, and book syncing options to allow you to sync your photos or books to the device without removing any apps. But if you then plug into another computer or back into the original sync station, and it is set to sync photos and books, the photos and books on your device will be replaced with the photos and books on that computer, and if the photo or book library is empty it will replace yours with an empty library, basically deleting everything. So while I sync my devices with multiple iTunes libraries it can be complicated and I usually just tell people it cant be done.