Apple Inc Stories March 9

AAPL: 101.12

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While an earlier public poll showed the majority of the public siding with the FBI in the dispute over whether Apple should be forced to help the government break into an iPhone, the public mood appears to be shifting. A WSJ/NBC poll shows that, overall, American voters are now almost evenly split on the issue.

Neither the WSJ nor NBC has yet released the full poll – only the results relating to the Republican primary race – but CNET has reported the numbers.

Overall, American voters are evenly divided over whether Apple should cooperate with FBI efforts to crack open a terrorist’s iPhone.

47 percent said they feared the government wouldn’t go far enough in protecting national security, while 44 percent feared it would intrude too far into citizens’ privacy.

As you’d expect, there was a significant difference in views among registered Republicans and Democrats …

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Apple Inc Stories March 8

AAPL: 101.03

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Well, the e-book case that began in 2012 when the US government accused Apple of price-fixing finally ended yesterday  when the Supreme Court declined to hear Apple’s appeal. That left the original ruling intact, meaning that Apple is officially guilty of anti-competitive behavior and will have to fork out $450M in compensation.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the correct result was reached in law. Apple did deliberately set out to fix prices, it did strike secret deals, and it did intend to manipulate the e-book market. Emails from Steve Jobs confirmed the government’s claim that Apple struck the deals in the belief that consumers would end up paying more for e-books.

Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream ebooks market at $12.99 and $14.99. [Up from the typical $9.99 at the time.]

So far, so good. If you’d brought that evidence to me at the time Apple did the deals, I’d have agreed with the government that the company’s behavior was both illegal and morally wrong. But I’d argue that by the time the case was finally brought to court, it was already abundantly clear that it was not in the public interest to pursue it …

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When Apple signed an exclusive deal to use the superstrong alloy liquidmetal way back in 2010, there was a lot of speculation about how Apple might use it. The only immediate answer we saw was in the SIM ejection tool supplied with iPhones.

While some had expected Apple to use liquidmetal for product casings, the high cost of the material seemed to rule that out, at least in the short-term. There’s also been no sign of the super long-lasting batteries some had suggested.

But Apple clearly does have a use for it beyond SIM eject tools, last year renewing those exclusive rights – and a patent granted to the company today suggests one possible reason why …

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Appearing on Conan last night, Woz said that he sided with Apple in the FBI fight, first because he’s always been strong on human rights, as one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but because governments shouldn’t be able to tell manufacturers to make their products insecure at a time when security is so important.

He argued that there is absolutely no reason to think the FBI would learn anything from the iPhone in question.

They picked a lame case. They picked the lamest case you ever could […]

[For the shooters’ own phones] Verizon turned over all the phone records, all the SMS messages. So they want to take this other phone, that the two didn’t destroy, which was a work phone, and it’s so lame and worthless to expect something’s on it and get Apple to expose it.

Revealing that he had once written something that could have acted as a Macintosh virus, he said he’d thrown away every line of code because he was so scared of what might happen if the code got out …

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Apple Inc Stories March 7

AAPL: 101.87

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The implications of the FBI forcing Apple to create a compromised version of iOS to break into an iPhone could be profound, argues Lavabit – an encrypted email company that closed its service rather than comply with an FBI demand to hand over its encryption key. Company founder Ladar Levison (above) was found to be in contempt of court when he refused to hand over the key in 2013.

Lavabit is the latest of more than 40 companies and organizations to file an amicus brief in support of Apple, reports TechCrunch.

It warns that iPhone and iPad users may reject future iOS updates, which would leave security holes unplugged.

If the government is successful, however, many consumers may not be as trustful of these updates because of a fear (actual or imagined) that the updates will contain malware to provide a backdoor into the data on their iPhones. The result is that fewer people will automatically accept the automatic updates and the overall security of iPhones across the country will suffer.

But the effects of a ruling against Apple could go even further, the company suggests …

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