Apple Has 'Obligation' to Protect Users

Apple Has 'Obligation' to Protect Users: Cook

Apple has “an obligation” to protect user data and privacy, chief executive Tim Cook said Monday, reaffirming his stand in a high-profile court showdown with the US government on encryption.

Cook was speaking at an Apple product unveiling at the company’s headquarters, one day before a court hearing on a hotly contested FBI effort to force the company to help break into the iPhone of a shooter involved in a deadly December attack.

“We need to decide as a nation how much power the government should have over our data and our privacy,” Cook told the crowd gathered for the event.

“We believe strongly we have an obligation to help protect your data and your privacy. We owe it to our customers. We will not shrink from this responsiblity.”

Cook’s remarks were the latest in a battle with the US government over efforts to compel Apple to help the FBI break into the iPhone of one of the attackers in last year’s deadly shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California.

Apple, backed by a broad coalition of technology giants like Google, Facebook and Yahoo, argues that the FBI is seeking a “back door” into all iPhones as part of the probe into the December 2 massacre that left 14 people dead.

Because of the iPhone’s encryption, Apple contends it would need to build a weaker operating system to help the FBI crack the phone’s passcode.

The US Justice Department argues that it is making a “modest” demand that could help reveal vital evidence in a terror case.

An FBI victory could serve as a legal precedent backing requests for access to iPhones by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.

A hearing was set for Tuesday before a magistrate in a federal court in Riverside, California. Whatever the decision, the ruling is likely to get additional hearings before the region’s appeals court and possibly the US Supreme Court.

Apple Unveils Smaller, Cheaper iPhone SE for Emerging Markets

Apple Unveils Smaller, Cheaper iPhone SE for Emerging Markets

Apple Inc on Monday unveiled a smaller, cheaper iPhone aimed at new buyers, especially in emerging markets and China, as the technology company looks to reverse a decline in worldwide sales of its most important product.

The new device, called the iPhone SE, has a 4-inch (10-cm) screen and starts at $399. It represents Apple’s second bid for the crowded mid-tier market after an unsuccessful foray three years ago. Orders start on Thursday, and the phone will be available next week.

The $399 (roughly Rs. 26,300) starting price is well below the $649 (roughly Rs. 42,800) for the current top iPhone model without a contract, which is beyond the reach of many. The new phone, with Apple’svaunted A9 chip, is much faster than Apple’s previous attempt at an entry-level phone, launched in 2013. It also runs Apple Pay and comes in the wildly popular rose gold colour.

Analysts had said before the event that a phone priced below $450 (roughly Rs. 29,700) could be competitive with other mid-tier rivals, mostly running Google’s Android system, and make an impact in emerging markets and China, the world’s biggest buyer of smartphones.

Apple is hoping the cheaper model will stimulate overall iPhone sales, which it expects to decline this quarter for the first time since it essentially created the smartphone market nine years ago.

“There are people who want that smaller screen size,” said Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research, but he warned that it may not be a sure-fire hit.

“It’s a more attractive price point, but I don’t think it moves the needle in emerging markets,” he said. “You do a price cut when you need to drive the market a bit more.”

Apple shares fell in the afternoon and were down about $0.15 at $105.77. The stock is down 20 percent from its all-time high closing price of $133 in February 2015, as Wall Street worries that the company does not have any blockbuster products in the pipeline.

The company showed off new wristbands for the Apple Watch and a new iPad Pro tablet at Monday’s event, but it generated little excitement among investors.

“Apple is so big now that nothing seems to be earth-shaking anymore, and the strategy seems to be turning to offering complementary products like watch bands so they can maintain their sales momentum,” said Skip Aylesworth, portfolio manager of the Hennessy Technology Fund.

The more compact phone design comes after it expanded the size of the screens in its high-end iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones in 2014 to as large as 5.5 inches. That was broadly seen as an attempt to match rival Samsung Electronics with its large-screen Galaxy phones.

Before the launch at Apple’s leafy Cupertino, California headquarters, Chief Executive Tim Cookdefended the company’s refusal to comply with a US court order to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in a December attack in San Bernardino, California.

Apple has a responsibility to protect customers’ data and privacy, Cook said, adding that Apple “will not shrink from that responsibility.” His statement was greeted by applause from the audience.

The tech company’s dispute with the US government has become a lightning rod for a broader debate on data privacy in the United States. The company is set to square off against the US government at a court hearing on Tuesday, likely the first round in a long legal fight to avoid being forced to decrypt the iPhone.

Apple also announced a new scheme it called ‘Liam’ to take apart old iPhones and reuse the materials.

With the iPhone SE, Apple Hopes Small Is Big Again

Apple Inc on Monday launched its least expensive iPhone, the $399 (roughly Rs. 27,000) iPhone SE, filling a hole in its product lineup with a small-screen model that targets new customers in emerging markets and fans of smaller phones as the company tries to reverse falling phone sales.

The low-key launch, held at the technology company’s Cupertino, California campus rather than its traditional splash at a much larger venue in San Francisco, did not wow tech experts or investors.

But the new mid-range model was seen as necessary to counter the dominance of cheaper phones running Google’s Android system.

“There are people who want that smaller screen size,” said Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. “You do a price cut when you need to drive the market a bit more,” though he questioned if the price was low enough to generate significant demand.

Apple is hoping the cheaper model will stimulate overall iPhone sales, which it expects to decline this quarter for the first time since it essentially created the smartphone market nine years ago.

The new model did not allay investor concerns that Apple, which celebrates its 40th birthday on April 1, has no obvious blockbusters in its pipeline.

“Apple is so big now that nothing seems to be earth-shaking anymore, and the strategy seems to be turning to offering complementary products like watch bands so they can maintain their sales momentum,” said Skip Aylesworth, portfolio manager of the Hennessy Technology Fund.

The company showed off new wristbands for the Apple Watch and a new iPad Pro tablet at Monday’s event, and a robot called Liam to take apart old iPhones and reuse the materials.

But none of those moves generated much excitement among investors.

Apple shares fell in the afternoon and were down about $0.15 at $105.77. The stock is down 20 percent from its all-time high closing price of $133 in February 2015.

The iPhone SE’s 4-inch screen is the same size as the iPhone 5c, which fizzled and is no longer available on Apple’s online store. The iPhone 6s, which previously had the smallest screen of the sixth-generation line-up, is 4.7 inches.

The new phone has a 12-megapixel camera and starts at $399 for 16 GB of memory.

The model represents Apple’s second bid for the crowded mid-tier market after an unsuccessful foray three years ago. Orders start on Thursday, and the phone will be available next week.

The starting price is well below the $649 for the current top iPhone model without a contract, which is beyond the reach of many. With Apple’s vaunted A9 chip, the new phone is twice as fast as Apple’s previous attempt at an entry-level phone, launched in 2013. It also runs Apple Pay and comes in the wildly popular rose gold colour.

The more compact phone design comes after Apple expanded the size of the screens in its high-endiPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones in 2014 to as large as 5.5 inches. That was broadly seen as an attempt to match rival Samsung Electronics with its large-screen Galaxy phones.

Apple is still expected to introduce a top-of-the-line, large-screen iPhone 7 late this year. The company now appears to be following a two-pronged approach to attack the top and the middle of the smartphone market.

“If these smaller phones are a gateway into the Apple ecosystem then over the long term it improves Apple’s chances of growing at a comfortable rate,” said David Meier, a fund manager with Motley Fool Funds.

Reaction to the multi-model strategy was mixed on social media.

“So what’s Apple’s line-up next year? iPhone 7, 6s and a new SE?” tweeted Benedict Evans, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He also posted an image of several iPad models with the caption: “Please tell me this is getting cleaned up.”

Cook defends privacy stance
Before the launch, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook played up the company’s role as a staunch defender of its customers’ data and as a good corporate citizen with announcements of a new recycling effort and software for mobile apps that help people manage health conditions.

He repeated his refusal to comply with a US court order to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in a December attack in San Bernardino, California.

Apple has a responsibility to protect customers’ data and privacy, Cook said, adding that Apple “will not shrink from that responsibility.” His statement was greeted by applause from the audience.

The tech company’s dispute with the US government has become a lightning rod for a broader debate on data privacy in the United States. The company is set to square off against the US government at a court hearing on Tuesday, likely the first round in a long legal fight to avoid being forced to decrypt the iPhone.

iPhone SE Launch on Monday, Here's What We Know So Far

Apple is holding a special event on Monday, where the company is expected to showcase the 4-inch iPhone SE, a 9.7-inch iPad Pro model, and a range of new Apple Watch models alongside more accessories. A flurry of leaks related to Apple’s new iPhone has already given us a glimpse of what to expect from the launch event.

An alleged retail box of the new iPhone all but confirmed the iPhone SE name and also tipped the base storage is set to continue as 16GB. The phone is also tipped to come with 4K recording. A recent videoalso showed the purported iPhone SE in all its glory. The design in the video mostly corroborates previous leaks. The model in the video is a Rose Gold version and is seen compared side-by-side along with the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6s. As one would expect, the model looks similar to the iPhone 6 and later models, but with the iPhone 5s dimensions.

Rumours of a 4-inch iPhone have been floating around ever since the company unveiled the iPhone 6and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple smartphones that for the first time featured display sizes larger than 4-inches. Based on preliminary leaks, the new iPhone will look like the iPhone 5s unveiled back in 2013.

About the name of the upcoming iPhone, several earlier reports referred it as the iPhone 5se, though that wouldn’t make much sense if you question why Apple would use a name based on its 2013 iPhone model. The Cupertino-based giant is likely to launch a 4-inch iPhone dubbed as iPhone SE or special edition.

As for the price, analyst Ming Chi Kuo at KGI Securities claims the iPhone SE will be priced between $400-$500 (roughly between Rs. 27,500 and 34,500, which is lower than the off-contract retail price of the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s. Reports also claim that Apple might slash the official retail price of the iPhone 5s in half at the event.

The alleged new iPhone is rumoured to sport innards similar to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. But in terms of the design, it is expected that Apple will be inclined towards the design of the iPhone 5s, but with some noticeable changes – such as a relocated power button. The iPhone SE is said to sport its power button on the side, as opposed to on the top as seen in the iPhone 5s.

To recall, iPhone models starting with iPhone 6 have had their power key on the side. The report thus refutes a purported iPhone 5se render that suggested that the iPhone 5se will look identical to the iPhone 6, except for the 4-inch size form-factor. Further, the iPhone SE is said to have curved design. Some reports have claimed that the iPhone SE will sport a curved glass as previously seen on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s smartphones.

For specifications, the iPhone SE is expected to feature a 4-inch display and will be powered by A9 SoC and M9 coprocessor. It is also likely to feature hardware and software capability to support Live Photos, a feature that Apple introduced with iOS 9 last year. Currently only the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus support Live Photos. As for connectivity features, the iPhone SE will support 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and VoLTE, as seen on the iPhone 6s. There have been reports claiming that the iPhone SE will miss out on 3D Touch display, which is one of the most interesting features in Apple’s current flagship smartphone models.

The iPhone SE, according to reports, will have NFC chip to facilitate support for Apple Pay, the mobile payments system from Apple. It will come in Gold, Silver, and Space Grey colour options and in 16GB and 64GB inbuilt storage variants. An earlier report suggested that Apple may bring a Rose Gold optionidentical to the iPhone 6’s Rose Gold colour.

In other news, the much-rumoured iPhone SE will have Foxconn as well as Wistron as suppliers. A Digitimes report says that Apple has been considering separating its order to different ODMs to “avoid risks.” Wistron is said to get small portion of the 4-inch iPhone orders from Apple this year.

At the event, we are also likely to see a new iPad model. The tablet, according to a report from last week, will be very similar to the iPad Pro with same hardware innards and an Apple Pencil, save for the 9.7-inch small factor. The iPhone maker is also expected to release the WatchOS 2.2 software update, which was recently made available to developers, alongside the launch of new Apple Watch models.

Apple Signs Major Cloud Deal With Google For iCloud

Apple iCloud

Amazon has been the main provider of Cloud services to Apple in the past and now it has been revealed that Apple are reducing their dependency on Amazon Web Services with a new major deal with Google.

Apple has apparently spent between $400 and $600 million with Google on their cloud platform and Apple will use Google’s services to power part of their iCloud platform.

Apple is also expanding its own data centers, so they deal with Google could be an interim one until they have managed to expand their own data centers to deal with all of their data.

The deal between Apple and Google was apparently signed late last year, although Google or Apple have yet to confirm the deal.

iPhone SE And 9.7 Inch iPad Pro Expected To Go On Sale Next Week

iPhone SE

Apple is holding a press event next Monday the 21st of March, the company will unveil two new devices, the 4 inch iPhone SE and the 9.7 inch iPad Pro.

Apple is expected to start selling both devices next week, with pre-orders rumored to start on either the 21st or 22nd of March and the devices to be made available in Apple’s retail stores by Friday the 25th of March, this has yet to be confirmed by Apple.

The iPhone SE is rumored to come with a 4 inch display that will feature a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels and it will come with an Apple A9 processor and 2GB of RAM. It is expected to be made available with two storage options, 16GB and 64GB.

The cameras on the new 4 inch iPhone are said to include a 5 megapixel front facing FaceTime camera and a 12 megapixel rear camera which can record Ultra HD video in 4K. It will also support Apple Pay, it may also come with a Force Touch display like the 6S and 6S Plus.

The device is expected to be available in a range of colors which will include gold, silver, slate gray and possibly a new bright pink color option, the device will come with iOS 9.3 which also be released next week.

The new 9.7 inch iPad Pro is rumored to be power by the same Apple A9X processor as the 12.9 inch model, the device is expected to come with 4GB of RAM and a range of storage options up to 128GB.

The 9.7 inch display on the new iPad is expected to feature a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels and the device is also rumored to get a new 12 megapixel rear camera which will also be capable of recording 4K video.

We will have full details on the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro and also the new 4 inch iPhone SE when both devices are made official next Monday.

New AceDeceiver iOS Malware Can Infect Non Jailbroken iPhones

ios malware

A new iOS malware called AceDeceiver has been discovered by Paloalto Networks and the iOS Malware can apparently infect non jailbroken iPhones.

The new malware apparently exploits design flaws in Apple’s DRM, you can see more details on how it works below.

AceDeceiver is the first iOS malware we’ve seen that abuses certain design flaws in Apple’s DRM protection mechanism — namely FairPlay — to install malicious apps on iOS devices regardless of whether they are jailbroken. This technique is called “FairPlay Man-In-The-Middle (MITM)” and has been used since 2013 to spread pirated iOS apps, but this is the first time we’ve seen it used to spread malware. (The FairPlay MITM attack technique was also presented at the USENIX Security Symposium in 2014; however, attacks using this technique are still occurring successfully.)

Apple allows users purchase and download iOS apps from their App Store through the iTunes client running in their computer. They then can use the computers to install the apps onto their iOS devices. iOS devices will request an authorization code for each app installed to prove the app was actually purchased. In the FairPlay MITM attack, attackers purchase an app from App Store then intercept and save the authorization code. They then developed PC software that simulates the iTunes client behaviors, and tricks iOS devices to believe the app was purchased by victim. Therefore, the user can install apps they never actually paid for, and the creator of the software can install potentially malicious apps without the user’s knowledge.