Apple announces ‘Activation Lock’ theft deterrent feature for iOS 7 ahead of gov’t meeting on rising smartphone crime

Ahead of a meeting with government officials later this month to discuss how Apple could prevent increasing smartphone crimes, Apple today introduced a new feature called ‘Activation Lock’ that it says will be “a really powerful theft deterrent” when released later this fall in iOS 7.

We told you earlier this month that government officials in the US were calling Apple, Google and others to a “smartphone summit” later this month on June 13 to discuss the increasing amount of smartphone related crime in New York city and the rest of the country. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon have been pushing smartphone makers to come up with solutions to prevent crime and discourage thefts of devices.

Today, during its WWDC keynote presentation ahead of the meeting later this month, Apple introduced the ‘Activation Lock’ feature that will require an Apple ID and password to reactivate a stolen phone after being remotely erased/wiped by the owner through Apple Find my iPhone feature. The login information will also now be required to turn off Find My iPhone.

If a user’s device is stolen, wiping the device clean will essentially leave the thief with a device that is inoperable without the user’s Apple ID and password (as pictured above): Read more

Government officials call on Apple, Google & others to secure smartphones following increasing thefts

Apple police

After sending a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google, and others questioning if the companies could be doing more to prevent increasing thefts of smartphones, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has now scheduled a face to face meeting with the companies to discuss the issue.

NYDailyNews reports Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon will meet with representatives from Apple, Google, Motorola, Samsung and Microsoft at a June 13 “smartphone summit” in New York.

Schneiderman wants the same thing that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has been pushing device makers on in recent months– a ‘kill switch’ that would render a device inoperable and discourage thefts of devices:

Letting customers shut down their phones would make them worthless on the black market and reduce so-called “Apple picking” — the fastest-growing street crime in New York City. Schneiderman cited statistics that show a 40% jump in the theft of mobile devices in New York City in 2012.

Back in December, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed thefts of iPhones and iPads were the cause of the increase in the city’s annual crime index and the NYPD’s most recent report showed crimes involving Apple products in the city had increased 40 percent. Read more

Leak causes flood at Fifth Avenue Apple Store, employees blame recent construction

Apple-store-flood

The New York Post reports that the flagship Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan was flooded following heavy rain in the city this morning due to a leak in the retail store’s roof. The flood apparently began shortly after opening at approximately 8 a.m while around 15 customers were shopping in the store. According to reports from NY Post, employees blamed construction completed on the location last year for the leak: Read more

Apple analysts react to Galaxy S4 launch with a variety of wild insights

Samsung-GalaxyS4-vs-iPhone-5

Samsung officially unveiled its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone last night at a theatrical, Broadway-style presentation in New York, and analysts are quick to jump in today with opinions on what it means for Apple. AAPL is having a decent morning hitting a high of 442.50 and opinions from analysts seem to be split down the middle regarding whether the S4 has what it takes to cut into Apple’s market share.

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray doesn’t seem too impressed with the S4 upgrade but noted Samsung’s new S Band is “a quick first pass for Samsung on wearable technology ahead of Apple’s watch. Munster added that he expects Apple to launch its smart watch product by 2014 (via Barron’s):

The Galaxy S4 appears to be largely an incremental update to the S3 including a slightly larger screen (4% larger on diagonal), better camera and processor, and updated software, but largely the same body style and casing. We believe some of the software features are unique, including the tilt to scroll, video pausing based on facial recognition, and hand gesture based interactions, but view these software improvements as minor compared with what Siri was to the iPhone 4S or even Google Now to Android.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek thought the S4 will be “incrementally negative for Apple” but doesn’t view the S4 upgrade as “revolutionary” (via Zdnet): Read more

Movies and TV Shows oddly disappear from Apple TVs for many users

Several 9to5Mac readers, most of which are located in the United Kingdom, reported that movies and TV shows have oddly disappeared from the Apple TV menu. A thread on Apple’s Support forums confirmed many users are now experiencing the issue.

While the problem originally appeared to only affect users located in the U.K., more reports on Twitter, as highlighted in the selection of tweets below, from New York, France, Ireland, and Australia further confirmed missing icons. One user on Apple support forums claimed Apple informed him the icons would be restored soon and that the stores continue to work in the U.S. and Luxembourg:

Read more