The Apple and FBI iPhone encryption debate has caught the attention of comedian John Oliver, who discussed the issue on an episode of Last Week Tonight. Oliver covered the topic without lionizing Apple, instead focusing on the encryption debate and how the FBI is using the All Writs Act to get their own way. It’s a light-hearted look at a serious issue.
With Apple’s March event just over a week away, 9to5Mac has a rumour roundup of all the products we’re expected to see. The iPhone SE will mark the return of a four-inch form factor, the regular-sized 9.7-inch iPad will adopt iPad Pro features and name, and people will be thoroughly underwhelmed at even more Apple Watch bands. It’s also likely we’ll see software updates released for all of Apple’s major platforms, with the entire event live-streamed from 3am on Tuesday next week.
Apple has sent out invitations to an event on March 21, where the company wants to “loop us in”. Speculation from AppleInsider claims we’ll see a 4-inch iPhone at the event, along with the iPad Air successor, which might just end up being a smaller iPad Pro. As for the teaser, maybe that’s some kind of code for new Apple Watch bands. Or Apple’s bringing the iPod touch wrist strap to the iPhone, one of the two.
An interesting piece from Ars Technica kicks us off this morning by taking a look at the possible ways the FBI could crack the PIN on the iPhone at the centre of the San Bernardino investigation, without Apple doing it for them. While the FBI has already asked Apple to assist them in doing so by building a custom firmware that removes some of the security features in order for the phone’s PIN to be cracked more efficiently, without any fear of the device wiping itself after incorrect attempts or lengthy lockout periods for incorrect guesses, there are potentially other ways it could accomplish the same thing with little to no Apple assistance.
In the New York case regarding a locked iPhone 5S running iOS 7, a US Magistrate court judge has already ruled the FBI’s request to unlock Jun Feng’s iPhone was going too far. Now the FBI has asked a more senior judge to make the decision, based on the fact unlocking the iPhone is something that Apple can easily do, something that Apple has done before. As covered by Ars Technica, both this New York and the current San Bernardino case involve the FBI’s invocation of the All Writs Act in order to compel Apple to assist.
The US Supreme Court has rejected Apple’s appeal in the e-book price fixing case, meaning Apple must pay $450 million for orchestrating a scheme to raise the prices of e-books in collusion with publishers. Despite arguing that its actions in launching the iBookstore increased competition in the Amazon-dominated e-book marketplace, the US Government has decided that’s just not on.
Copies of the Transmission BitTorrent client have been found to contain KeRanger ransomware, the first fully-functional ransomware of its kind on the OS X platform. Palo Alto networks provides methods on how to discover if you have been infected by a compromised Transmission installer, as well as removing it from your system. Apple’s XProtect malicious malware system has also been updated. Strangely enough, there doesn’t appear to be any information on what you can do if your files haven’t been encrypted, even if you’ve found the infected version of Transmission on your machine.
Apple’s latest official Twitter account is @AppleSupport, and at the moment, it has a bunch of cool tips and tricks. Checking out the account’s @-replies also reveals they’re willing to help out everyday folk with their questions, but also shows why Twitter’s 140-character limitation is a terrible idea when you need more details than a single tweet can provide.
Chip supplier TSMC is preparing to double production on its 16nm chips, which AppleInsider is taking as a sign that prep for the next iPhone has already begun. Production will increase to 80,000 12-inch wafers by the end of the month, and given that Samsung may or may not be involved in chip production on the next iPhone, that figure might have to be enough.
The Intercept brings us the news of an Apple victory in the courts, but this isn’t the Apple versus FBI victory that you were looking for. Instead, a New York judge has ruled the law does not “justify imposing on Apple the obligation to assist the government’s investigation against its will”. It’s a case that’s very similar to the current one connected to the San Bernardino shooting, with a similar inaccessible iPhone and the US Government filing for Apple to assist under the All Writs Act.