Apple's announcement comes just days before a summit scheduled by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón in which the officials are to meet with representatives of Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft to discuss issues related to mobile device theft. The officials have been pushing manufacturers and carriers to find ways to disable stolen devices in hopes of making them less desirable to thieves.
One of the smaller iOS 7 announcements yesterday was around the iPhone activation security features. Educational institutions need to be highly conscious of both the potential for device theft if we're distributing £300+ devices to our students, or recommending they buy them out of tightly-squeezed personal budgets, not least in terms of their own safety. This is a welcome move that potentially makes stealing an iPad significantly less attractive.