Apple’s March event is unofficially on, but pushed back by about a week. That’s the word from Re/code, who told us to re-mark our calendars, adjusting the date for Apple’s event back a week. The new date for the event is the week of March 21, where we’re still expected to see a smaller iPhone, iterative improvements to the iPad, and minor changes to the Apple Watch lineup.
Every month, we’ll be bringing you a small selection of slightly longer op-eds, think pieces, and whatever else the Apple blogosphere offers up about the wonderful world of Apple. Some will have already had coverage in the daily news, but they’ll always be worth you time and attention. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.
- Early on in February people were wondering if they still liked the Apple Watch, and while some said the Apple Watch had led them to discover the wondrous world of mechanical watches, there was at least one mechanical watch enthusiast who couldn’t take off the Apple Watch because he liked it so much. Jack Forster says the design of the Apple Watch rivals that of any mechanical watch — which should probably come as no surprise, given how much design credentials there are in the house of Apple, but makes mechanical watch enthusiasts after the advent of the Apple Watch a curious case indeed.
The big picture, though, is that you get something that has enormous thought put into every detail – both hardware and software – to such an extent that it would be oppressive if it weren’t in general so good. What scares me about luxury watchmaking nowadays is that it often forgets that good design, and getting the details right, still matter.
Apple’s 65-page response to the FBI in the San Bernardino case is a bit of a read, but the summary isn’t anything you don’t already know if you’ve been following along with the saga so far. Apple mentions that assisting the FBI by intentionally compromising the security of one device sets a dangerous precedent and opens the doors to unofficial copies of iOS without the usual security safeguards in place, among other things.
Ars Technica starts us off this morning by putting forward the case for backing up to iTunes instead of iCloud. In light of the Apple versus FBI privacy and security debate, iCloud backups provide a loophole to allow Apple to hand over your data to law enforcement agencies, which is why it might backing up to iTunes might be a better option for those concerned about their personal privacy. Local encrypted backups are the only type of backup you can do that contain “account passwords, Wi-Fi settings, browsing history, and data from the Health app”, as explained by Ars.
A new court filing from Apple has revealed nine other cases where the FBI has invoked the All Writs Act. All were filed in October 2015 to now, and while no details about the cases are known, all target various iOS devices. Apple notes it has objected to every court case, except in cases where the details are not known or warrants have not been received.
Fortune’s Q&A with Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t include any questions or answers about the recent security and privacy debate between Apple and the FBI, probably because the interview was conducted before any of that happened. Instead, what we do get is a look at Apple’s first quarter financial results, as well as insight on the innovation process at Apple.
In the continuing Apple vs FBI saga, BuzzFeed reveals Apple has been cooperating with the government all along, suggesting methods of retrieving information stored on the device without building a back door. One such method involves letting the device back up to iCloud, which may have provided the FBI with information relating to the incidents that took place on December 2. Only the device wasn’t able to back up to iCloud, because someone at the San Bernardino County reset the iCloud password, preventing the iPhone from backing up to iCloud.
Ever since Apple published their customer letter on their position on customer privacy and their decision not to assist the FBI in gaining access to a single iPhone, a number of civil rights groups and tech companies have come out in support of Apple’s position. The EFF applauded Apple for standing up for real security and the rights of its customers, while the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International had similar support. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Edward Snowden, and WhatsApp founder Jan Kourn have also supported Apple’s stance.
A US judge has ordered Apple to assist in the investigation of a San Bernardino shooting. Specifically, the court wants Apple to build a custom firmware file for the shooter’s iPhone 5c, which will allow the FBI to brute-force the passcode used on the device and access the contents within. Apple’s response so far has been all class: a customer letter signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook says the decision “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand”. It also opens the doors to public discussion on government interference in the security of Apple’s customers, setting a dangerous precedent in the usage of the All Writs Act.
A rumour from the supply chain claims Apple’s next iPhone will make extensive use of single-chip EMI shielding. Individually shielding chips on the iPhone logic board (as opposed to using one EMI shield for the entire logic board) carries the benefits of preventing interference in wireless communications (improving wireless performance), as well as allowing a more complex logic board design.