My small company is building an iPad app for a fixed installation in a small, non-profit museum. This app isn't intended for the general public, and we do not want it listed in the app store (or need to be subject to app store validation requirements); however, we do need to be able to keep it running in the museum for at least 5 years, and being able to remotely update it would be a huge plus.

As the museum is a non-profit entity, we are also trying to minimize the budget for it, and the $299 Enterprise Apps license for 5 years would be a non-starter for them. And as my small company is three people, taking on a large support burden for this small installation doesn't make business sense for us.

The museum installation is only two iPads.

I see a few possible approaches:

  • Treat the two installed iPads as developer devices, and take on the extra support burden of traveling to the museum (in another state) to install any updates or to refresh the app after the (1-year?) expiration
    • Alternately, give a museum representative access to our Git repository and train them on doing a build... (probably not a realistic option)
  • Use an ad-hoc distribution profile (and, again, have to refresh once a year)
  • Upload the app to the App Store as an internal test, add a representative of the museum to iTunes Connect, and remember to push out a "new" build on TestFlight every 30 days (which someone at the museum would have to manually accept/update)

Are there any other options I'm missing?

As an aside, we also evaluated using any number of non-Apple devices for this; unfortunately, the iPad Pro is the only device we found with the appropriate blend of hardware and software support, and it is actually going to be replacing a couple of Android tablets that did not end up meeting the requirements.

  • Have you looked at distributing with a custom B2B app via the app store? developer.apple.com/programs/volume/b2b – James P Jan 31 '18 at 15:48
  • @JamesP I had but it also doesn't seem suitable; it requires the museum to sign up with a "volume purchasing" account and it's based around having hundreds or thousands of installs, not... two. – fluffy Jan 31 '18 at 22:51
  • I don't think there is a minimum install amount, and if the application is free it doesn't matter how many they purchase. I think it's the only way to avoid having to constantly renew the app profile. – James P Feb 1 '18 at 9:44
  • That might very well be the answer then. To simplify things I'll see if we can just sign up as a volume purchaser of our own app, since it's up to us to procure/install/manage the devices anyway. – fluffy Feb 1 '18 at 22:13

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