Apple Stores to soon offer iPhone 5s & 5c screen replacements, other repairs

iPhone 5s Teardown via iFixit

iPhone 5s Teardown via iFixit

Apple is gearing up to soon begin hardware repairs for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in its chain of retail stores, according to sources with knowledge of the upcoming initiative. These sources say that Apple Stores will be able to replace several parts of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on-site, meaning that Apple will no-longer need to fully replace iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c units with damage or other problems…

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The inner workings of Touch ID: Each fingerprint sensor is paired to a specific A7 chip

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When Apple introduced Touch ID on the new iPhone 5s, the company provided some basic information about the kinds of security used to protect users’ fingerprints and data. A new discovery by iMore reveals that Apple has even more security in place than they discussed with the public.

According to iMore, each individual Touch ID sensor is paired with its corresponding A7 processor. To confirm the pairing theory, iMore switched the Touch ID sensors from two brand new iPhones and attempted to setup each device. Each phone failed to recognize the sensors and returned an error until the sensors were swapped back to their original phones.

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iPhone’s Touch ID metal ring fits in iPad 5 part, but likely isn’t evidence for fingerprint-scanning iPads

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With the announcement of the new iPads approaching later this month, rumors surrounding the new full-sized iPad have centered around a thinner, lighter design, but it’s been unclear if the new tablet will sport the Touch ID fingerprint authentication system from the iPhone 5s. I’ve heard that Apple’s most recent internal next-generation iPad prototypes have lacked Touch ID sensors, so it’s unclear if it will make the cut for this year. There are a few reasons why Touch ID wouldn’t make sense on an iPad this year:

  • Exclusivity to iPhone 5s could help with sales for Apple’s flagship phone. Notice the iPhone 5c doesn’t have it.
  • Supplies for Sapphire Crystal are obviously tight.
  • Touch ID would be better suited for an iPad capable of multiple users; is the OS even ready for that?

On the other hand, bringing Touch ID to the iPad this year would create consistency for Apple’s fall 2013 iOS Device line. Apple’s iPhone 5s internal test units did not gain Touch ID until late into testing, so there isn’t conclusive evidence right now for either direction…

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Video reveals how the Touch ID hack was performed – ‘trivial’ attack that took 30 hours

The German hacker who successfully defeated Touch ID using a fingerprint lifted from the back of an iPhone has posted a video showing exactly how it was done.

While the hacker – who goes by the nickname Starbug – described the attack as “very straightforward and trivial,” he revealed in an email interview with arsTechnica that it required 30 hours of work using a scanner, high-res laserprinter and a printed circuit board etching kit.

It took me nearly 30 hours from unpacking the iPhone to a [bypass] that worked reliably. With better preparation it would have taken approximately half an hour. I spent significantly more time trying to find out information on the technical specification of the sensor than I actually spent bypassing it.

I was very disappointed, as I hoped to hack on it for a week or two. There was no challenge at all; the attack was very straightforward and trivial.

Should 5s owners worry that, now that the technique is known, it could be replicated in 30 mins? The answer is ‘it depends, but probably not’ …  Read more

“Biometrics hacking team” uses photographed fingerprint to get past Touch ID

In a rather nervous video and associated blog post, Chaos Computer Club appears to demonstrate how they can get through Touch ID by taking high-resolution photographs of a fingerprint. Ironically, they claim the hack can be completed with “materials that can be found in almost every household” then go on to say that a 2400 dpi resolution photograph of the fingerprint must be used.

The group claims that Touch ID was only a little bit more difficult to get through compared to other fingerprint sensors, since the iPhone 5s’ scanner is extremely high-resolution. They go on to state that fingerprints should not be used as a secure method of authentication since they are left on so many surfaces and can be picked up very easily.

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Why Touch ID is bigger news than any of us appreciated

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Touch ID is far, far more important than most people have realised – the core message behind a Quora post by the CEO of a card payment service. We can expect to learn far more “in the next few months, and that’s likely to eventually include both Touch ID Macs and use of the fingerprint system for mobile payments.

In the torrent of the billions of words already written about Touch ID very, very few people have really understood just how revolutionary this really is.  Apple not only has developed one of the most accurate mass produced biometric security devices, they have also solved critical problems with how the data from this device will be encrypted, stored and secured.

Brian Roemmele, CEO of 1st American Card Service, said that Apple’s attempt to solve the problem of how to develop a truly secure access system goes all the way back to a patent application in 2008, but it was only through the A7 chip – specifically created by ARM with mobile payment security in mind – that the company finally had a gold-standard solution. And its applications will go far beyond iPhone unlock and iTunes purchases …  Read more

Apple details Fingerprint Sensor/Touch ID security, 48 hour wipe standard

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Via the Wall Street Journal, an Apple spokesperson fleshes out some of the finer details surrounding the fingerprint sensor and Touch ID.  To use Touch ID, it is mandatory to also set up a passcode. This acts as a fallback in case the fingerprint sensor fails temporarily or experiences a permanent hardware fault. iOS may necessitate a passcode under some other conditions, as well.

Only that passcode (not a finger) can unlock the phone if the phone is rebooted or hasn’t been unlocked for 48 hours. This feature is meant to block hackers from stalling for time as they try to find a way to circumvent the fingerprint scanner.

By having the sensitive data expire fairly quickly, Apple is hoping that hackers will not have enough time to decrypt the data and have it still be useful. However, the time is long enough that it should not inconvenience users very often.

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Apple officially unveils the next-gen ‘iPhone 5S’ w/ fingerprint sensor & new gold color option

As we were expecting, Apple just officially announced its new iPhone 5S live on stage during its event taking place now on the company’s Cupertino campus. The new iPhone 5S largely retains the same glass and aluminum design as Apple’s previous generation iPhone, but it does include upgraded internals, and a new gold color option and fingerprint sensor that we previously reported. The new iPhone 5S comes alongside the announcement of Apple’s much rumored lower-cost, plastic iPhone 5C unveiled during the event earlier today.

The iPhone 5s includes a new A7 chip, which Apple notes is the first 64-bit chip in a smartphone, something we reported previously that the company was testing. Apple says the new chip includes 2x general-purpose registers, 2x floating-point registers, and includes over 1 billion transistors on a 102mm2 die size. A7 makes the iPhone 5s over twice as fast in terms of speed, according to Apple, and also provides a 40x increase in CPU performance and 56X faster graphics. The new iPhone 5s hardware will also support Open GL/ES 3.0 and will still support 32 bit apps.

TouchID-iPhone5S-fingerprint-sensor-01Apple is also including a fingerprint sensor in the new iPhone 5s for a new security feature dubbed “Touch ID.” Embedded into the home button, the Touch ID capacitive sensor is 170 microns thin and will not only allow users to unlock their device, but also authenticate iTunes purchases.  Apple says that all fingerprints will be encrypted, stored securely and never uploaded to iCloud or its own servers. It also noted the fingerprint sensor will be able to support multiple fingerprints with the same device

The new iPhone 5s also include a new motion co-processor called the “M7″ that Apple says works alongside the A7. It’s able to measure motion data continuously, as well as measure gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer data.

M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you’re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won’t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn’t moved for a while, like when you’re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery.

The new chip will work with new CoreMotion APIs in iOS 7 that will allow developers to identify user movement. The first to take advantage of the technology is Nike with a new app called “Nike+ Move”.

Battery life: Apple says the new iPhone 5S will get 10 hours of 3G talk time, 8 hours of 3G browsing,a nd 10 hours of LTE and WiFi browsing. You’ll also get around 250 hours standby and 10 hours of video, according to Apple.

The iPhone 5s packs in a new camera system with a dual LED true tone flash, a new five-element lens designed by Apple, a F2.2 aperture, a sensor with a 15 percent larger active area, auto stabilization, and bigger 1.5 micron pixels. The camera also includes a new burst mode that will continuously take photos a rate of 10fps, and the 120fps slow mo mode that we reported about back in July. Head below for iPhone 5s pricing and availability: Read more