Apple Inc Stories March 21, 2016

AAPL: 105.91

-0.01

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found a vulnerability in iMessages that allowed them to decrypt both photos and videos sent via the service. Apple said that iOS 9 provided a partial fix – making the attack method more difficult – while it is fully fixed in iOS 9.3.

The Washington Post reports that the team advised Apple of the flaw, and will publish a paper as soon as iOS 9.3 has been officially released, expected for later today. The team has, however, explained in outline how their attack worked …

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A detailed behind-the-scenes look by Bloomberg at the showdown between Apple and the FBI details how it had been on the cards for years before the San Bernardino shootings. Among the details revealed are that Apple provided the FBI with early access to iOS 8 so that the agency could understand the impacts ahead of its introduction.

The government’s concern about Apple’s increasing use of strong encryption dates back to 2010, said one source.

Long before iOS 8 was launched, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies had fretted about Apple’s encryption, according to a person familiar with the matter. In 2010, the company introduced the video-calling app FaceTime. It encrypted conversations between users. The following year, the iMessage texting application arrived; it, too, featured encryption. While neither of these developments caused a public stir, the U.S. government was now aware how much of a premium Apple put on privacy.

It was around this time, says the piece, that the FBI started pushing the White House to introduce new legislation which would guarantee law enforcement access to data on smartphones and other devices. These attempts were reportedly abandoned when the Snowden revelations changed the public mood …

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Apple Inc Stories March 18, 2016

AAPL: 105.92

0.12

Apple may need to find new WiFi chip supplier as Broadcom reportedly scales back production

Apple may be left needing to find a new supplier of WiFi chips if a Digitimes report is accurate. The report claims that Broadcom is scaling back its WiFi chip production in favor of more profitable products.

As is often the case with Digitimes reports, the report is unclear, the opening stating that Broadcom is ‘looking to phase out its WiFi chip business’ while a quote ascribed to unnamed sources says instead that it plans to ‘significantly reduce resources allocated to its Wi-Fi chip business.’

Either way, though, Apple may need to find additional or replacement suppliers as it relies on the company’s chips across almost its entire product range. It’s reported that competitors MediaTek, Realtek Semiconductor and RDA Microelectronics have all received last-minute orders from Broadcom customers. It’s not known whether this includes Apple.

Photo: Broadcom WiFi Airport Card for Retina MacBook Pro (Aliexpress)

Apple Inc Stories March 17, 2016

AAPL: 105.80

-0.17

When the celebrity nudes story broke back in 2014, it was headline news in the mainstream media. The story was that ‘iCloud had been hacked.’ The truth, of course, was a little different. As we suspected at the time, and Apple later confirmed, the ‘hack’ wasn’t really any such thing. A combination of two techniques were used to gain access to the iCloud accounts.

First, phishing: sending emails designed to look like they were from Apple asking the celebrities to login to their accounts, and directing them to a fake website made to look like the real thing. Second, guessing the answers to security questions – something easier to do with celebrities given the amount of biographical information available in the public domain.

That’s not to say Apple was entirely blameless. iCloud did not, at the time, offer two-factor authentication. Given that an iCloud backup is a near-complete copy of all the data stored on an iPhone, that was something which should have been included from the start. But the bottom-line is that iCloud itself wasn’t really hacked in any meaningful sense of the word.

It was this week confirmed that phishing was the approach taken by the main offender in this case. In other words, nothing whatsoever to do with iCloud security. This news hasn’t resulted in a single headline in the mainstream media. The average non-tech person out there still believes ‘iCloud was hacked’ …

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Apple Inc Stories March 16, 2016

AAPL: 105.97

1.39

Fight for the Future, the protest group that organized demonstrations in support of Apple outside its retail stores, plans to hold a demonstration outside the next Apple/FBI court hearing on March 22nd. Re/code reports that the group has created a website inviting people to voice their support for secure iPhones, comments from which will be displayed outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Riverside, California.

The FBI wants to force Apple to weaken the security measures that keep all of us safe. This is misguided, and dangerous. On March 22, when Apple goes to court, we’ll display thousands of statements from Internet users outside the courthouse.

Fight for the Future has so far had mixed success with its protests …

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Apple chip maker TSMC and designer ARM partner on 7nm process, likely destined for iPhone 8

Apple chipmaker TSMC and chip designer ARM have announced that they will work together to create a 7nm FinFET process expected to enter early production in late 2017 and mass production in 2018. This would put it on track for an A11 chip in the iPhone 8.

Apple originally used ARM chips in its iOS devices, switching to its own custom chip when it launched the iPhone 5, though still using an ARM instruction set. TSMC has so far been one of two A-processor chipmakers alongside Samsung, but is rumored to be the sole producer for the A10 chip in the iPhone 7.

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