There is no way to backup the apps on your iPads.....period.
The following article gives you a list of everything that is backed up.
iTunes: About iOS backups
What is the best way to manage multiple iPads?
ideally i would like to create a 'master' configure settings and apps, then same this full image and distribute that, however i don't think this is possible? in my experience syncing ipads purchases must be transferred to a computer and then backup, then sync apps.. it's a long winded way of doing it i think. Is there a way to create a FULL backup inc apps etc? and then push that?
i have used apple configurator in the past and it worked great for initial setup but it didn't solve the problem with apps if i remember rightly.
any suggestions appreciated
Apple configurator can deploy apps en masse quite easily. I download the apps from iTunes on a Macbook, then import them into Apple Configurator. If they are paid apps then you need to be looking at the Volume Purchase Programme.
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