Archives for posts with tag: Apple

By now, the media has been pretty well saturated with the news that the FBI has asked Apple for help in decrypting data from the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters under the All Writs Act of 1789.  Under the 227 year old law, the US Federal Court is authorised to issue any writs it sees fit.   Without getting too much into the technicalities (there is some uncertainty about what the FBI is actually asking of Apple – i.e is it really a “backdoor” or is it simply help in unlocking one phone belonging to a terrorist?)

  • applefbi

Apple hit back at the FBI with an open letter to customers saying that it is a “dangerous precedent” to set because “the government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location…” and so forth.  This could be a stretch in this particular instance, but it’s brought to light serious issues with regards to technology manufacturers and national security – issues that have been around for a while now.  Teresa May suggested a bill four years ago (nicknamed the Snoopers’ Charter) that is still being discussed in Parliament and David Cameron even advocated for weakening encryption in order to tackle terrorism and crime something that has had the security professionals raging. 

So here’s the kicker – it’s taken a singular case involving Apple to finally get regular people to sit up and care.  Suddenly it’s real because it’s a big brand, despite the technology industry shouting about it for years.  Friends and family of mine were talking about Tim Cook’s open letter to customers, posting to Facebook – people who have never cared about this kind of stuff before.

Makes you wonder though – did Apple see this as a chance for some publicity?  Ask a pen tester or someone in the know, and they’ll tell you they hack iPhones all the time; it’s not a big deal.  Does the FBI really not have the resources to do it themselves?  I’m sure they could if they wanted to.  So was the request to Apple a mere courtesy that Apple has taken advantage of?  There are lots of questions around this that seem to be unanswered, but the main thing that sticks out is how Apple has managed to capitalise on the situation.

But hey, anything that makes the public consider their data security and privacy ought to be a good thing, right? Or is that spoken like a true PR person? ;0)

ImageWhen I first heard about the features of the new iPhone I was thrilled. Not because I’m a huge Apple fan, in fact quite the reverse, but because it included a security feature as standard – the Fingerprint Scanner.

However, it didn’t take long for hackers to claim Apple’s scalp, proving the technology to be ‘hackable’. The Chaos Computing Club claims to have defeated Touch ID by photographing the fingerprint of an iPhone’s user, then printing it on to a transparent sheet, which it used to create a mould for a “fake finger.” But does that mean Apple was wrong to include the technology?

I’d argue not.

I like to think that I’m fairly security conscious, at least in the digital world, and have long understood the inadequacy of the passcode. However, I still use it and with good reason. I have a friend whose device doesn’t have a code and she regularly leaves it unattended. As a result it’s become a challenge to see who can slip the phone off the table and post the most obscure status updates, make random tweets, and take bizarre ‘selfies’. Secretly, she must enjoy it as I can’t see any other reason for leaving her phone lying around – but I digress. While a passcode would at least hinder our efforts, it probably wouldn’t stop the die-hards of the group. But the fingerprint scanner would.

Of course, there will be some that disagree, arguing that if security can be cracked then it’s worthless. But is that really the case? We all have locks on our front door but we know a persistent burglar isn’t going to be deterred. But the opportunist will be. And surely that’s the point.

In normal life you’d be pretty unlucky to lose your phone, or even have it stolen, and for whoever ends up with the device to also have your ‘fake’ finger. So, rather than ridicule Apple and it’s fingerprint scanner I think for once it deserves to be applauded.

In fact, I want more designers to add security features as standard to my devices. After all, any security’s better than no security – isn’t it.

 

– Dulcie –

The much heralded Apple iPad finally arrived in the UK today and was met with great excitement from both the press and consumers. And having got my hands on a journalist’s iPad at a recent press event I have to say it truly is an amazing piece of kit.

Now I have to admit that I’m a massive fan of all things touch screen and I was fortunate to have launched the Microsoft Surface to the UK press last year in London http://bit.ly/NcQhj whilst working at my previous agency. However the one thing that stood out for me at the launch of Surface was the device lives and dies on the quality of the applications which are available to the user. So I’ve no doubt that the Apple AppStore will play an integral part in driving user adoption as well as being key in making user experience more personal and unique as the device develops.

My only question is will the number of new iPad apps keep pace with consumer demand because, as you may or may not know, Apple is rather strict about which apps make it into their AppStore. So how do the army of developers out there frantically trying to create apps for the iPad know what the users, and Apple, want.

At this point I asked a friend in the US who knows about these things to find out what makes a good app and how. As an example of a great iPad app he pointed me in the direction of a company called Big Oven http://www.bigoven.com/ipad-recipes.aspx; a site which has recently been recommended in Forbes ‘must have iPad Apps for professionals http://bit.ly/bzc6rh . Now in terms of how a developer creates that magic dust which turns a bad app into a good app (well at least in the eyes of Apple maybe), it turns out the secret to a successful app is in our hands, or at least the way we behave. Application developers need to be able to access masses of our customer data and have the ability to interpret patters and trends, sometimes in real time, to improve the product.

So for all the style and innovative beauty which the iPad offers, take a minute to remember the part that the developers play in creating the fantastic apps which make the amazing iPad experience possible.