When the iPhone was released in 2007, people wanted to use it in the workplace, but there was some technical challenges. The biggest challenge was the lack of native exchange support. The only way around it was to enable IMAP over Exchange (something a lot of people didn't want to do). With the launch of iPhone OS 2.0, ActivSync was added and therefore it could sync e-mail, calendars, and contacts from Exchange servers. With each version of iOS, Apple has added additional APIs for mobile devices management systems. In fact, there are things you can now do with an iOS 7 deployment that I thought would never have happened.
With Apple's new Device Enrollment Program, they have solved just about every problem or complexity relating to deploying iOS. My podcast co-host Fraser Speirs has a great write up about the nitty gritty details of the new options if you haven't read about them yet.
Do you see what Apple has done here? They are building a moat around the iOS kingdom in education (and a lot of corporations). Microsoft originally built a moat years ago with Active Directory and Exchange. The main difference between then and now is that end users actually like to use Apple products. Now, IT professionals actually like to deploy and manage iOS. Apple learned from Microsoft that once you control the locks (the back end infrastructure), it's harder for people to change the keys (devices). It's certainly not a long term world domination plan, but it does give Apple a few years of runway if they found themselves being challenged for end user attention from someone else. Once IT departments have gone "all in" on iOS deployment principals, they are going to be less likely to want to move elsewhere.