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The latest announcements from CES 2017 in Las Vegas
Apple Shares Two New iPad Pro Ads Focused on Apple Pencil and Augmented Reality
Saturday January 13, 2018 9:15 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple today has shared two new iPad Pro ads titled Augment Reality and Take Notes. The short 15-second clips, set to the song "Go" by Louis The Child, are part of a larger campaign ongoing since last year.
The first ad focuses on how the iPad Pro can run augmented reality apps based on Apple's new ARKit platform for iOS 11.
The second ad focuses on how the Apple Pencil can be used to create multimedia notes on an iPad Pro running iOS 11, along with the ability to draw, type, or drag and drop photos from Apple's Files app. A few clips from this ad were previously shared in Apple's longer What's a Computer? ad in November.
The two ads follow yesterday's new 38-second ad titled A New Light, in which Apple explained how Portrait Lighting offers studio quality lighting effects without a studio and showed off various examples.Related Roundup: iPad ProTag: Apple adsBuyer's Guide: 10.5" iPad Pro (Neutral), 12.9" iPad Pro (Neutral)
82 comments
The Most Interesting Products We Saw at CES 2018
Friday January 12, 2018 1:45 pm PST by Juli Clover
The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show is wrapping up today, bringing an end to a week's worth of non-stop announcements about all of the new products we can expect to see over the course of the year.
For our last video, we asked MacRumors videographer Dan to spend some time on the show floor, hunting down the most interesting products he could find. Not everything we're sharing today is Apple related, but we thought MacRumors readers might want to see some of the zanier things on display at CES.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
Robots were big at CES, some of which were offering an impressive level of detail and intelligence. Jibo, a #36;900 "social" robot that's already for sale, was on display, as was the CLOi Robot from LG. LG's CLOi is designed to control smart home products, but it had a bit of a rough start this week when it failed to perform at an LG event.
LG's CLOi
You might have seen Jibo in person already, because the company has been showing it off at mall kiosks and other locations. Jibo has a built-in camera for both facial recognition and capturing "special moments," plus he can dance, answer questions, play music, and more.
Jibo
Other robots on display were just plain odd. Robotis had a bunch of its programmable #36;499 Mini Humanoid Robots set in a choreographed dance to South Korean hit song "Gangnam Style." Robotis also had a pet dog robot on hand, which was able to roll over, wag its tail, and even pretend to go to the bathroom.
Robotis Mini
Some robots were more conceptual than consumer oriented. Omron, for example, was showing off its Forpheus ping pong robot, which can play a mean game of table tennis. In the future, Omron has goals beyond ping pong or Forpheus, but for now, it's an interesting proof of concept demonstrating what robots are capable of.
Omron's ping pong robot
Beyond robots, there was some impressive TV tech being demonstrated at CES. LG created an entire tunnel filled with OLED TVs to simulate walking through a forest, while Samsung showed off its 146-inch microLED modular TV, "The Wall."
The Wall scales out to as large as 146 inches, which is the average size wall a consumer might have in a house. It's modular, though, so if your wall is smaller, it can be built smaller, too. Samsung hasn't provided pricing on The Wall, but we imagine it's going to be a lot more than most people want to spend for a TV set, even one as cool as this.
The Wall from Samsung
Though not quite as visually interesting, the latest Vivo phone was being shown off on the show floor. The Vivo is notable because it's the first phone that includes an in-display fingerprint sensor, courtesy of Synaptics. Apple was rumored to be working on this kind of technology, but the company ultimately went with Face ID.
Synaptics' Clear ID in-display fingerprint sensor
Cars and other alternative transportation methods were also a highlight of CES, with companies showing off everything from the luxurious to the futuristic. There were also plenty of electric bikes and scooters, including an FAA-approved collapsible electric scooter from Immotor. It's sleek, folds down into a tiny package, and offers a 16 mile range on one charge, but it's expensive at #36;1,500.
Immotor Go
Our CES coverage is at an end for 2018, but we'll be seeing more of many of these products over the course of the year. If you want to catch up on our coverage, make sure to check out our CES 2018 hub, and don't miss our roundup of some of the best Apple-related accessories we saw at the show.Tag: CES 2018
81 comments
Apple Shares New Video Highlighting Portrait Lighting on iPhone X
Friday January 12, 2018 1:20 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple this afternoon uploaded a new iPhone X video to its YouTube channel, this time showing off the new Portrait Lighting mode on the iPhone X.
In the 38-second video entitled "A New Light," Apple explains that Portrait Lighting offers studio quality lighting effects without the studio, while also showing off each of the different Portrait Lighting options.
Portrait Lighting on iPhone X creates studio-quality lighting effects. See portraits and selfies in a whole new light.Portrait Lighting is a feature available for both the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus, but the iPhone X is the only device that offers Portrait Lighting effects for both the front and rear-facing cameras thanks to its front-facing TrueDepth lens system.
Apple's Portrait Lighting feature uses sophisticated algorithms to calculate how your facial features interact with light, to create unique lighting effects. There are several Portrait mode lighting presets, including Natural Light, Studio Light (lights up your face), Contour Light (adds dramatic shadows), Stage Light (spotlights your face against a dark background), and Stage Light Mono (Stage Light, but in black and white).
Portrait Lighting is one of the new features that Apple has focused on a few times before in past videos, sharing Portrait Lighting tutorials and demonstrations of Portrait Lighting in action. Most of Apple's prior videos focused on the iPhone 8 Plus, though, while this one is specific to iPhone X.Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: Apple adsBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
60 comments
Visa Dropping Signature Requirement for Chip Cards and Apple Pay Starting in April
Friday January 12, 2018 10:30 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Visa today announced it will eliminate its signature requirement for EMV payments beginning April 2018 in the United States and Canada.
The change will apply to both chip-and-signature credit and debit cards, and contactless payment solutions like Apple Pay when linked to a Visa credit or debit card. The change is designed to allow for a more consistent, streamlined, and quicker checkout experience for both merchants and cardholders.
For years, customers have been required to sign the receipt when making a purchase to verify they own the debit or credit card they are attempting to use. A cashier is supposed to match the signature on the receipt against the one on the back of the card, but in reality, this process is often skipped nowadays.
Currently, even when using Apple Pay, a signature can be required on occasion for purchases over #36;25 made with a Visa card in the United States. But with EMV technology and other modern safeguards, Visa is now moving to fully eliminate this requirement, in line with Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
The signature requirement is already much less common in Canada, where customers insert their chip card into a payment terminal and verify ownership by entering a four-digit PIN. You also can't use contactless payments for transactions over #36;100 in Canada (update: excluding American Express 鈥 thanks Gary Ng!)
Visa says its partners have deployed EMV-chip enabled readers at more than 2.5 million locations around the world. Less than two years since the technology launched in the United States, counterfeit fraud declined 66 percent at EMV-chip enabled merchants, according to the company.
Merchants will remain able to collect signatures if required to do so by an applicable law in a particular jurisdiction.Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Visa
107 comments
Apple Reportedly Met With Potential Suppliers of Augmented Reality Glasses at CES 2018
Friday January 12, 2018 7:58 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple representatives met with suppliers who make the type of parts required to power augmented reality glasses at CES this week, according to Bloomberg News.During CES, representatives from major players like Apple, Facebook, and Google met with suppliers that make the nuts and bolts required to power AR glasses, according to people familiar with the meetings.The report doesn't provide any additional details about the meetings, or what was discussed, but it's yet more anecdotal evidence that so-called "Apple Glasses" may one day go from rumor to reality.
Bloomberg News has previously reported that Apple is working on an augmented reality headset that could launch by 2020. An early version is said to have a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a custom operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system," but many prototypes are thought to exist.
The early November report said Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is supposedly investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures, likely among other ideas.Engineers are prototyping a range of applications, from mapping and texting to more advanced features including virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback. The company has discussed pairing the headset with its own version of the App Store, where users would be able to download content, just as they do with the iPhone, Watch, Apple TV and Mac.At the time, Apple software engineers were said to be using HTC Vive headsets for internal testing purposes, while working on a device similar to an Oculus Gear VR headset that uses an iPhone's display and other hardware.
An augmented reality headset is one of several projects that a team of Apple software engineers are supposedly working on under the umbrella code name of "T288" at the company's offices in Cupertino and Sunnyvale. The same team reportedly worked on Apple's ARKit platform for iPhone and iPad.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, despite repeatedly expressing a profound interest in augmented reality, recently alluded to any headset being at least a few years away during an interview with The Independent.Today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way. We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with.Apple's acquisitions of augmented reality headset maker Vrvana and eye-tracking company SensoMotoric Instruments could certainly help it build a headset, but we likely still have a few more years to wait until we see any finalized product, and there's still a possibility the project is canceled at some point.Related Roundup: Apple VR ProjectTag: bloomberg.com
57 comments
Apple Rises to Become World's Fourth-Largest PC Maker With Around 20M Macs Sold Last Year
Friday January 12, 2018 6:37 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple rose to become the world's fourth-largest PC maker in 2017, as Mac sales increased to nearly 20 million during the year, according to the latest estimates shared by research firms IDC and Gartner.
The roughly 19.6 million total is based on Apple's reported Mac sales of 13.9 million units in the first three calendar quarters of the year, while IDC and Gartner estimate Apple sold another 5.4 million to 5.7 million Macs in the fourth quarter.
Apple officially reported sales of 18.5 million Macs in 2016, so the company is looking at year-over-year growth of around four to six percent based on the IDC and Gartner data. Apple sold over 20 million Macs in both 2014 and 2015, however, so 2017 was likely not a record-breaking year for the Mac.
Apple leapfrogged either Asus or Acer depending on which dataset you look at, as IDC and Gartner have slightly different estimates. Both research firms have Apple trailing behind HP, Lenovo, and Dell, which shipped an estimated 58.8 million, 54.8 million, and 41.8 million PCs respectively last year per IDC.
Apple's growth in 2017 is impressive given Gartner claims it was the sixth consecutive year of declining PC shipments. The year saw Apple refresh its MacBook Pro and iMac lineups with Kaby Lake processors, give the base MacBook Air a slight speed boost, and launch an all-new iMac Pro.
We'll know exactly how many Macs were sold in 2017 when Apple reports its next earnings results on February 1, but if these estimates prove to be accurate, it was a financially successful year for the Mac.Related Roundups: iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBookTags: IDC, GartnerBuyer's Guide: iMac (Neutral), Mac Pro (Caution), Mac Mini (Don't Buy), MacBook Air (Neutral), MacBook Pro (Caution), MacBook (Neutral)
176 comments
Apple Shares Updated iOS Security Guide With Info on Face ID, Apple Pay Cash and More
Thursday January 11, 2018 4:31 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple this afternoon published an updated version of its iOS Security white paper for iOS 11 [PDF], with information that covers features introduced in iOS 11.1 and iOS 11.2, like Face ID and Apple Pay Cash.
Much of the information in the document on Face ID has been previously shared by Apple in a dedicated Face ID white paper and accompanying support document that was released in September following the iPhone X's announcement, but the Face ID section is worth a re-read for those who are interested in Face ID security.
The document also covers several other topics, such as Shared Notes, CloudKit, Siri Suggestions, and more, with a full list of updates below:
Updated for iOS 11.2
- Apple Pay Cash
Updated for iOS 11.1
- Security Certifications and Programs
- Touch ID/Face ID
- Shared Notes
- CloudKit end-to-end encryption
- TLS
- Apple Pay, Paying with Apple Pay on the web
- Siri Suggestions
- Shared iPad
The document explains in detail how Apple features work and how they're protected. With Apple Pay Cash, for example, Apple says transaction data is stored for troubleshooting and fraud protection, while all money transfers are done securely using the Secure Element as with other Apple Pay transactions.
There are many small but significant details in the paper about all of the topics listed above, and for anyone who is interested in the security of their iPhones and iPads, it's worth checking out in detail.
Prior to today's update, the last update to the iOS security document was in July of 2017 following the release of iOS 10.3.Related Roundup: iOS 11
27 comments
Intel CEO Pledges Commitment to Security Following Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities
Thursday January 11, 2018 3:46 pm PST by Juli Clover
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich today wrote an open letter to Intel customers following the "Meltdown" and "Spectre" hardware-based vulnerabilities that impact its processors.
In the letter, Krzanich says that by January 15, updates will have been issued for at least 90 percent of Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, with updates for the remainder coming at the end of January.
For Apple customers, macOS and iOS devices have been patched with protection against Spectre and Meltdown. Meltdown was addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 and iOS 11.2, while Spectre mitigations were introduced in a macOS 10.13.2 supplemental update and iOS 11.2.2, both of which were released this week. The vulnerabilities have also been addressed in older versions of macOS and OS X.
According to Krzanich, going forward, Intel promises to offer timely and transparent communications, with details on patch progress and performance data. Because Spectre and Meltdown are hardware-based vulnerabilities, they must be addressed through software workarounds. In some cases, these software patches cause machines to perform more slowly.
Apple users do not need to worry about performance impacts. According to Apple, Meltdown had no measurable reduction in performance on devices running macOS and iOS across several benchmarks. Spectre, fixed through a Safari mitigation, had no measurable impact on most tests, but did impact performance by less than 2.5% on the JetStream benchmark. Apple says it plans to continue to refine its mitigations going further.
In addition to remaining transparent about the performance impact of the software fixes, Krzanich says Intel will commit to disclosing security vulnerabilities and sharing hardware innovations that will, in the future, prevent such attacks.Our customers' security is an ongoing priority, not a one-time event. To accelerate the security of the entire industry, we commit to publicly identify significant security vulnerabilities following rules of responsible disclosure and, further, we commit to working with the industry to share hardware innovations that will accelerate industry-level progress in dealing with side-channel attacks. We also commit to adding incremental funding for academic and independent research into potential security threats.For those who missed the news last week, Spectre and Meltdown are serious hardware-based vulnerabilities that take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU, potentially allowing hackers to gain access to sensitive information.
Spectre and Meltdown impact all modern processors, including those used in Mac and iOS devices, and these two vulnerabilities will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future as addressing them entirely requires new hardware design. Apple has prevented Spectre and Meltdown from affecting customers through software updates, but all hardware and software manufacturers will need to be wary of additional speculative execution attacks going forward.
Apple customers should make sure to keep their Macs and iOS devices up to date with the latest software to remain protected from malicious attacks that might take advantage of the exploits.Tags: Intel, exploit, Vulnerabiltiies
124 comments
The Best Apple Related Accessories at CES 2018
Thursday January 11, 2018 2:25 pm PST by Juli Clover
This year's Consumer Electronics Show felt a little more muted than past shows, with fewer new and exciting products coming out. Much of that may be due to the fact that there was a lot of focus on Alexa and Google Assistant, two platforms that aren't applicable to a lot of Apple users.
Though CES 2018 may not have been quite as interesting as past events, there were still quite a few Apple-related products shown off that we're looking forward to seeing in 2018. Below, we've rounded up some of the most interesting accessories and devices relevant to those who own iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple devices.
Philips Hue Outdoor Bulbs and Hue Entertainment
Philips is planning to expand its line of popular HomeKit-compatible Hue light bulbs with new outdoor bulbs that can be used on porches, yards, balconies, and other outdoor areas. Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but these will be a welcome addition to the Hue lineup.
Philips is also introducing a new "Hue Entertainment" feature that will allow Hue lights to react to games, movies, music, and more through a series of partnerships with other companies. One of the first partnerships is with Razer.
Later this year, Philips will update its iOS app with a revamped design and it will introduce a new "Hue Sync" Mac app for creating and customizing light scripts for games, movies, and music.
Nanoleaf Remote and Square Panels
Nanoleaf, another company that does HomeKit-enabled lighting, announced a new #36;49 Nanoleaf Remote for controlling its Nanoleaf Light Panels and other HomeKit-compatible products. Some MacRumors readers aren't a fan of the design, but it is undeniably unique with its dodecahedron shape, and it also offers more preset options than other remotes. You can activate 12 HomeKit scenes with the Nanoleaf Remote by flipping it around, and it can also be used for dimming.
Nanoleaf is also going to be introducing new square light panels in the future, though a pricing and release date aren't available. The square panels are a major update to the existing triangle panels. They're touch sensitive so you can turn them on and off or activate another color preset with just a tap or a swipe, and there will also be built-in motion sensing to tweak the lights when you walk by.
HomeKit-Enabled Kohler Faucet and Moen Shower System
Kohler and Moen took HomeKit to an interesting new place at CES with the announcement of HomeKit-enabled faucets and shower systems.
Kohler's Sensate faucet will let you use Siri voice commands to turn the water on or off or dispense set amounts of liquid, while the DTV+ shower system will let homeowners create and automate personalized shower experiences with different presets for sound, water, steam, and lighting, which can be activated by voice.
Moen's "U by Moen" shower system will let you use voice commands to start your shower and activated pre-set temperature choices.
Voice-enabled shower systems aren't cheap, with Moen charging #36;1,160 for the "U." Pricing for the Kohler system hasn't been announced, but the current non-HomeKit-enabled Sensate faucet is priced at #36;523 while the DTV+ shower system is priced at #36;794.
Belkin HomeKit for Wemo and Wireless Charging Docks
At CES, Belkin finally debuted HomeKit integration for its Wemo devices, allowing smart plugs, light switches, and dimmers to be used with HomeKit. HomeKit integration is limited right now, but the good news is that future Belkin Wemo products will likely support it.
Adding HomeKit to your Wemo setup will require the new Wemo Bridge, priced at #36;40.
Belkin's other major announcement was a whole slew of new wireless chargers for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. There are chargers in bright colors, upright chargers, and chargers that go in the car.
Osmo Mobile 2
If you capture video on your iPhone, the Osmo Mobile 2 from DJI is worth checking out. It's way cheaper than the original version at around #36;160, has simpler controls, and longer battery life.
It works by using a three-axis gimbal to cancel out movement in three directions for stable footage even when you have shaky hands.
HyperDrive 8-in-1 USB-C Hub
Hyper's new 8-in-1 USB-C Hub may be a Kickstarter project, but Hyper has a proven track record for delivering solid products. The HyperDrive USB-C Hub is designed for USB-C MacBook models with a 4K HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a microSD slot, an SD card slot, three USB-A 3.1 ports and one USB-C power delivery port.
It also includes a built-in 7.5W wireless charger and convertible stand for wirelessly charging the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.
Hyper's Kickstarter campaign for the USB-C Hub will start on January 15.
Incase IconConnected PowerSleeve for MacBook Pro
Incase's new IconConnected Power Sleeve combines protection with power for Apple's 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models. It takes a standard Incase Icon sleeve and then adds a 14,000 mAh battery with a USB-C port that can be used for charging purposes.
There's also a USB-A port built into the Power Sleeve so you can charge your other devices, too. Incase plans to offer 13 and 15-inch versions of the Power Sleeve, which will be available for #36;199.95 when it launches in the third quarter of 2018.
We highlighted tons of other Apple-related products at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, so make sure to check out our CES hub to see all of our CES 2018 coverage. What was your favorite product at the show? Let us know in the comments.Tag: CES 2018
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Former Apple Intern Looks Back at Designing First Apple Emoji in 2008
Thursday January 11, 2018 11:23 am PST by Juli Clover
Back in 2008, Angela Guzman was a graphic design student at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and an intern at Apple, where she joined the iPhone team and worked alongside another Apple designer, Raymond, to come up with the first 500 emoji characters that were available on the iPhone.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of her internship, Guzman has taken a look back at her time at Apple and her work on emoji in an interesting retrospective shared on Medium.
Image via Angela Guzman
When Guzman was handed the emoji project at Apple, it came at a time when emoji were unfamiliar in the English speaking world. Guzman received a crash course in Apple design and then started designing emoji, which featured incredible detail even right from the start. Then Apple CEO Steve Jobs reviewed each batch of emoji before it was approved for launch.Regardless of how fast I could crank one out, I constantly checked the details: the direction of the woodgrain, how freckles appeared on apples and eggplants, how leaf veins ran on a hibiscus, how leather was stitched on a football, the details were neverending. I tried really hard to capture all this in every pixel, zooming in and zooming out, because every detail mattered.Some emoji, says Guzman, have interesting back stories. The happy poop swirl, for example, was reused as the top of the ice cream cone. Harder, more detailed emoji were left last, such as the now-iconic dancer with the red dress.
Guzman's emoji were first launched in Japan in November of 2008, and in the time since then, emoji have changed the way we communicate. Emoji have become an important part of the iOS and macOS ecosystem, and Apple has continued refining and improving its emoji offerings with each Unicode update.
As with the first Apple emoji designed by Guzman and her partner Raymond, emoji today feature incredible detail thanks to the talented artists at Apple who take the time to make sure each and every pixel is perfect.
iOS 11.1 was the last iOS update that introduced new emoji, bringing Unicode 10 characters like crazy face, pie, pretzel, t-rex, vampire, exploding head, face vomiting, shushing face, love you gesture, brain, scarf, zebra, giraffe, fortune cookie, pie, hedgehog, and more.
The next emoji update will come with the release of Unicode 11 in 2018, and emoji proposals for that update include smiling face with three hearts, blue face with icicles, smiling face with cape, mango, cupcake, kangaroo, llama, peacock, and red hair options for existing emoji.Tag: emoji
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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of iOS 11.2.5 to Developers and Public Beta Testers
Thursday January 11, 2018 10:08 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming iOS 11.2.5 update to developers and public beta testers, a few days after seeding the fourth beta and releasing iOS 11.2.2, an update designed to mitigate a serious hardware-based vulnerability called "Spectre."
Registered developers can download the iOS 11.2.5 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center. Public beta testers can get the beta over-the-air.
iOS 11.2.5 introduces a new feature that allows Siri to play daily news podcasts when queried about the current news. Siri will offer up news from The Washington Post by default, but you can also choose to switch to Fox News, CNN, or NPR.
The new audio news feature, which appears to have been developed for use with Apple's upcoming HomePod speaker, is invoked when using Hey Siri or asking Siri about the news when using CarPlay or with headphones connected - essentially any situation where you're not looking at the display of an iOS device. If you activate Siri using the side button or Home button of a device, standard Apple news headlines are provided instead of the audio-based news highlights.
It's not clear what other new features, if any, will be included in the iOS 11.2.5 beta. We didn't discover other noticeable outward-facing changes in the first four iOS 11.2.5 betas, so it's possible this update focuses mainly on bug fixes and security improvements aside from the Siri news update.
If that's the case, we may not know the extent of what's in the update until it sees a public release.
Apple is supposed to be releasing an iCloud Messages feature that was pulled from the iOS 11 release, but there has been no indication of when we can expect iCloud Messages to be reintroduced. Should new features be discovered in the fifth beta of iOS 11.2.5, we'll update this post.Related Roundup: iOS 11
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FBI Forensic Examiner Stephen Flatley Calls Apple 'Jerks' and 'Evil Geniuses' for Encrypting iPhones
Thursday January 11, 2018 8:58 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
Senior FBI forensic examiner Stephen R. Flatley spoke at the International Conference on Cyber Security yesterday, and during the talk he discussed Apple and the FBI's differing opinions on the topic of smartphone encryption. According to Motherboard, Flatley described the company as "jerks" and "evil geniuses" for creating iOS device encryption that is so powerful as to prevent Apple itself from entering users' iPhones.
Flatley said that recent updates to Apple device encryption have made password guesses slower, by increasing hash iterations from 10 thousand to 10 million, "making his and his colleagues' investigative work harder." This extended brute force crack time from a few days to two months, leading to Flatley stating that Apple is "pretty good at evil genius stuff." No detailed context was given regarding his "jerks" comment.
Image of Stephen Flatley taken by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai via Motherboardem That means, he explained, that 鈥減assword attempts speed went from 45 passwords a second to one every 18 seconds,鈥 referring to the difficulty of cracking a password using a 鈥渂rute force鈥 method in which every possible permutation is tried. There are tools that can input thousands of passwords in a very short period of time鈥攊f the attempts per minute are limited, it becomes much harder and slower to crack.
"Your crack time just went from two days to two months," Flatley said. 鈥淎t what point is it just trying to one up things and at what point is it to thwart law enforcement?" he added. "Apple is pretty good at evil genius stuff." Flatley's comments come nearly two years after the Apple-FBI dispute began, when a federal judge ordered Apple to help the FBI enter the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino. The FBI said it wanted Apple's help to enter just Farook's iPhone 5c, but Apple explained that the software it was asked to create could become a "master key" and be able to get information from any iPhone or iPad.
For this reason, Apple denied the request and CEO Tim Cook penned an open letter describing the potential for setting a "dangerous precedent" if the company did go along with the order. The battle eventually ended a few months later after the government discovered an alternative way of entering Farook's iPhone 5c, reportedly with the help of Israeli firm Cellebrite.
Flately mentioned Cellebrite as well during the security conference, describing the firm as "another evil genius" that counters Apple's encryption and can help the FBI when it needs to enter a smartphone. The forensic examiner was described as not clearly stating Cellebrite's name, but "facetiously coughing" at the same time to somewhat obscure the comment.
Although the Apple-FBI dispute has ended, debates over smartphone encryption have remained ongoing the past few years. In October 2017, a report came out stating that the FBI was unable to retrieve data from 6,900 mobile devices it had attempted to gain access to over the previous 11 months. That number accounted for half of the total devices the FBI tried to get into, and FBI Director Christopher Wray described the FBI's inability to retrieve information from these devices as a "huge, huge problem."
At the end of the case in 2016, Apple issued a statement explaining that the company will continue to assist the FBI when it can, but not at the expense of the data protection, security, and privacy of its customers: "Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security, and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk."
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.Tags: FBI, Encryption, Apple-FBI
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