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Apple responds to questions about San Bernardino case

What do you do when you’re at work, and your boss asks you to do something that you find to be unethical? Maybe you go over his head, and talk with his boss, or even someone in HR. But what happens when the US government gives you an order to do something like that? If you’re Apple, you can’t really go over the government’s head. But you can go to the people.

You probably already know that last week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter to customers, explaining what the government had asked them to do. The letter also outlined the company’s stance on encryption, and data security. The long and short of it was that the company wanted to protect the data of their customers, and believed that by complying with the government’s order, they would be compromising the security of their customers.

Since that letter was published last Tuesday, quite a bit has happened. One of the biggest things is that it was discovered that FBI had ordered that the iCloud password for the phone had been reset. This is an important piece of information, because this was actually the worst thing that they could possibly do.

When the court order to Apple first came out, it was thought that there was still a way to retrieve the information. All that needed to be done was to connect the device to a trusted network, and let it backup to the cloud. Apple has already provided previous iCloud backups of the device to the FBI. However, it had been some time since the phone was last backed up. By letting it back up to the cloud, Apple would have been able to provide the FBI with everything they wanted/needed.

There were some other methods that also would have been useful in gaining access to the device’s information. Unfortunately, they all required that the iCloud password not be reset. By resetting that password, the device was cut off from all of Apple’s services, until it could be entered. And you can’t enter that password until you’ve already unlocked the phone.

So the FBI shot themselves in the foot as soon as the investigation started. They made a critical error, and in order to fix it, they are attempting to strong-arm Apple into creating an entirely new operating system for their phones, which will allow the government to crack open any locked iPhone with relative ease.

Some conspiracy theorists might say that the FBI did this on purpose. After all, they would need to ensure that they had no other options for getting inside of the terrorist’s phone. And since terrorism sells, it’s the perfect way to obtain a tool that will give them a way to access every iPhone that comes into their possession.

The conspiracy theory might not be as far-fetched as some I’ve heard, but it’s more likely that someone was just following a procedure that involved resetting passwords. After all, what might be worst than someone logging in and remotely wiping the phone? Regardless of the motive, they have a brick in their possession, and they want Apple to write a completely new version of iOS that will allow them to brute force the passcode, and Apple still wants nothing to do with the idea.

Why John McAfee’s offer to unlock San Bernardino iPhone makes sense

Today, Apple has decided to continue their open dialogue with the public. Rather than simply fighting the FBI in court, they’re hoping to inform the general public on the situation. This time, they have decided to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions. Essentially, they wrote an FAQ for the San Bernardino case.

They start off the letter by addressing exactly what the government wants them to do, and why they object to it. The main point is that by complying with the order, they believe they will compromise the security of their customers’ data. Doing so will also set a dangerous precedent, where security would be sacrificed in the name of law enforcement. This is something we’ve seen in other areas of life in a post-9/11 world. So this isn’t a far-fetched idea in any way.

They also go on to say that they do possess the technical ability to create the new operating system that the government wants. They’re just choosing not to, because they believe it to be too dangerous. It’s dangerous because of the precedent that it could set, but it’s also dangerous because the newly-created software could potentially fall into the wrong hands. They equated it to creating a master key that could open hundreds of millions of locks.

They also made a very good point about cybersecurity, by citing the recent attacks on the IRS systems. After all, if those systems can be breached, who’s to say that the systems protecting a copy of this new iOS couldn’t also be breached? The only way for Apple to keep this software out of the wrong hands is simply to not make it in the first place.

Perhaps the most interesting piece of information from the FAQ is that Apple has complied with government orders to open up phones in the past. That’s right, they have employed methods that unlocked and exposed all of the information on an iPhone without needing the passcode.

The difference between those other cases and this one is that all of the phones accessed in this manner were running older versions of the iOS software. Apple can and will open up a phone for the government when ordered, as long as it isn’t running iOS 8.0 or higher. With the newer versions, they utilized passcode-based encryption, which prevented anyone, themselves included, from accessing the information contained within. They specifically wanted to ensure that only someone that has the passcode could open the phone and see the data.

The whole FAQ is interesting and worth reading. You can see it here. This case is far from over, and we’ll be keeping an eye on it, and reporting on it as new information becomes available.

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Iphone Se 4: 3 Unaswered Questions About The Phone

Some questions remain about the iPhone SE 4

Below, we’ll list some of the three biggest questions about the phone that still need an answer. Obviously, we don’t expect Apple to answer these questions anytime soon. The rumor mill will do so. As per MyDrivers and the reputable leakster Jon Proser, the iPhone SE will bring the “iPhone XR” back to the living. One time that the SE 3 was a revamped iPhone 8, the iPhone SE 4 will move to the iPhone XR design. That means that the iPhone SE will finally ditch the home button, and the bezels and move to the notch and the technology behind it.

MacRumors believes that the iPhone SE 4 will launch after the release of 2023’s iPhone 15 lineup. However, there is a good explanation for this. The iPhone SE 3 has the Apple A15 Bionic, just like the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. It wouldn’t make sense for Apple to launch the SE 4 with the Apple A15 again. But at the same time, the company can’t make the phone better than the premium iPhones. So, the company will have to wait until 2024 to bring the Apple A16 to the iPhone SE 4. But that time, the iPhone 15 series will have the same processor, but everyone will be waiting for the iPhone 16 series release with the Apple A17 and Apple A18 processors.

The insider Ross Young, states that until 2024 there is still plenty of time. Therefore, the company will keep evaluating some decisions prior to the release. Anyway, for now, there are a few things that Apple is still evaluating. Three things that are still unanswered for most tech analysts and insiders.

The Display Size of the iPhone SE 4

According to Young, Apple is evaluating displays between 5.7 inches and 6.1 inches. The iPhone XR had a 6.1-inch panel, so anything below that would make the phone slightly different. The analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple was working on an iPhone SE model with that display size. Anyway, Apple is yet to make a final decision.

LCD or OLED Gizchina News of the week Touch ID or Face ID

In recent years, the iPhone SE series has been the only modern iPhone series that give users Touch ID. But that can change with the iPhone SE 4. Since the company is ditching the classic design to enter the notch era, we will have to say goodbye to the home button.

Also, we have been hearing rumors about an under-screen Touch ID for years. That never materialized, but once again, we are hearing them for the iPhone 15 series. Now, the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple is considering a Touch ID for the iPhone SE 4. But that will come as a side-mounted button. Just like the great majority of mid-range Android phones. If the company goes for OLED, it will really need to put the scanner on the side or at the back.

Face ID with Dynamic Island?

Anyway, the chances for Face ID are not gone yet. The iPhone SE 4 will have a notch, and Apple could easily bring the Face ID tech to the phone. This may be the most plausible choice for the phone. After all, if Touch ID is coming back in any form, it will return to the flagship iPhones first. The iPhone SE 4 may remain a few steps behind the regular series. So it’s time for it to finally embrace the Face ID tech. Some optimistic rumors even suggest the use of Dynamic Island. Honestly, that is perfectly feasible, since Dynamic Island is a software trick. However, it’s exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro series due to the fact that the notch of these devices is “software-generated”. With the iPhone SE 4 release, Apple can “democratize” this feature bringing it to the cheaper model.

There are still several months ahead of a possible iPhone SE 4 release. More questions will pop out, and will also get our answers in the due time.

Here’s What The Latest Google Ad About Apple Iphones Is About

But what does the video have? Well, the video does show both Apple iPhone 14 and Pixel 7. But the role of the iPhone is to lament over the features that it lacks. And while iPhone states all that it does not have, Google Pixel 7 Pro offers consolations.

Google’s Ad Made Apple iPhone Complement the Pixel for Being Feature-packed

The ad starts with Google Pixel asking its iPhone friend if it is feeling alright. To that, the iPhone responds that it has just turned 14. Here, the ‘#BestPhonesForever: Plateau’ video makes it clear that the iPhone character in the video is iPhone 14.

Nonetheless, Apple iPhone continued saying that it started to notice things differently after turning 14. It says that when it was Pixel’s age, it was shown off to its friends. Here, the video is referring to iPhone 7, which was a major success. To be exact, Apple has sold 159.9 million units of iPhone since its launch.

Moving on, Apple iPhone in the video further said that it did not get the same treatment when it turned 14. And after saying all of this, the iPhone character of the video starts to complement the Pixel phone. The Apple iPhone in the video praises the Pixel phone for having superior image capabilities.

And if you asked me, the iPhone character of the video is quite right. Pixel phones do come with superior camera capabilities. The iPhone 14 Pro Max ranks 8 in DXOMARK, while the Pixel 7 Pro is ranked 6. For those wondering, DXOMARK gives expert reviews on the latest smartphones and ranks their camera.

Gizchina News of the week

Google Thinks Apple’s Only Show-Off Feature Is iMessage

When it comes to consolations, the Google Pixel phone in the ad says that Apple iPhones are ‘legendary.’ But if you analyze the video, that’s just one of two good things Google says about the iPhone. The second thing that Google says is that iPhones have ‘blue messages.’ With it, Google referenced iMessage.

The iPhone in the video attempts to showcase its worth by saying that it was the most popular device for over a decade and that people wait in line to purchase it. But as it was trying to say those, its battery died, and there was no Lightning charger in sight. So, the conversation in the video ends abruptly.

With that, Google is showcasing its Pixel phones for having USB-C, which is now considered to be a universal charging standard. Although, that comparison factor could soon change with iPhone 15. The latest reports say that Apple will integrate USB-C into the iPhone 15 series.

However, In Reality, iPhone 14 Series Is More Successful Than Google Pixel 7 Series

While the video made by Google is clever, the actual performance numbers will tell you a different story. In fact, you will mock Google after seeing them. To fill you in, Google shipped around 9 million Pixel smartphones last year.

On the other hand, Apple has shipped 70 million iPhones in just the Q4 of 2023. That’s a massive difference. And if that’s considered, it becomes clear which phone is better. But still, the video does make it clear that it’s put in a mocking tone. You can check it out by yourself here.

Making The Case For Going Case

I decided to go completely case-less. Most of you guys probably think I already do that, since I never have a case on my devices when I’m filming a new video.

But that, as it turns out, hasn’t been so. I used to only keep my iPhone nude for aesthetic purposes on film. As soon as I hit the shutter release on my camera to stop filming, back in the case she went.

Then I read something that changed my perspective on things. After seeing this post by John Gruber, I started thinking. Why are we so obsessed with encapsulating our devices in protective covering? Aren’t we ridding ourselves of the pleasure of using it as it was intended and designed to be used?

I decided to embark on an experiment. One that could prove costly, but at the same time provide me with a since of liberation. I was going to go case-less…

That was two months ago, and I’ve never looked back. It’s hard for me to imagine ever going back to using a case after using my iPhone 5 without one for the last two months.

I will admit that I have yet to throw caution completely to the wind, not yet at least. I purchased AppleCare+ just in case my phone is cosmetically damaged to the point where it bothers me. I’ve also placed a thin square patch of film on the back on my slate iPhone 5, because the anodized aluminum is so prone to scratches. That being said, it’s barely even there, and it’s certainly not providing me with any real protection in the event of a catastrophic drop.

I’ve received some pretty funny responses from friends, family, and even random strangers upon them seeing my case-less iPhone 5.

“You must be pretty brave to do that,” noted one stranger in a local Starbucks.

“That’s insane!” proclaimed an OtterBox obsessed friend.

Just a few months ago, I would have at least sympathized with them, but now I think they’re downright ridiculous for covering up such a fine piece of hardware. They pay all of this money for a device, and they don’t even get to touch it, can’t even feel it, and can barely see it. It all seems silly to me now.

Of course, going case-less has its downsides. For one, it’s inevitable that you phone will suffer from a few scratches here and there. These scratches are largely unnoticeable without a thorough examination of the device, or without the sun hitting it at just the right angle, but they’re there.

The slate iPhone 5, as you know, is prone to scuffs due to the anodized aluminum coating. I’m a victim of “scuffgate“, and I do notice more than a few areas on my iPhone where the bare metal is showing beneath the coating. Again, it’s not something that’s immediately discernible, but a close up view will reveal the imperfections.

I have to admit, at first, I was kind of annoyed with the hairline scratches on the screen, or the scuffs on the aluminum housing. I began to second guess the rightness of my decision to go without a case. But then I got to thinking, I really use my iPhone. I mean I really use it. As someone who blogs about iOS devices for a living, I put my iPhone through more stress than the average iPhone owner. It truly is a testament to the design of the device, that I only have the few scratches and scuffs that I do.

I’ve dropped my iPhone on a hardwood floor multiple times. I lay it face down or face up on virtually any surface. I’m always placing it in my pocket with keys and other potentially dangerous objects, and yet, it still looks virtually brand new.

All things considered, I do not regret my decision to go case-less one bit; not one iota. It’s such a liberating feeling to be able to directly interface with your device without any barriers. You don’t have to worry about cases interfering with the camera, or being too bulky. You get to truly enjoy an item, which by its very nature, is truly meant to uninhibitedly touched.

Google’s John Mueller & Martin Splitt Answer Questions About Site Speed

Google’s John Mueller and Martin Splitt teamed up for a special edition of the ‘Ask Google Webmasters’ video series to answer questions about site speed.

Together, they each took turns answering a series of rather technical questions from SEOs – even some that appeared to go over Mueller’s head.

Here’s a quick recap of each question and answer.

Question 1: Ideal Page Speed

“What is the ideal page speed of any content for better ranking on SERP?”

When Google measures page speed for the purpose of ranking content it generally separates pages into two categories: really good or pretty bad. Splitt says there is not much of a threshold between those two extremes as far as Google’s algorithm is concerned.

Presumably that means there is no “ideal” speed. Just make sure pages are fast enough to fit into the “really good” category. Again, no specific measurements were given, but it helps to look at it from a visitor’s perspective and think about whether they would find your site fast or slow.

Question 2: Importance of Google PageSpeed Insights

“I wonder, if a website’s mobile speed using the Test My Site tool is good and GTmetrix report scores are high, how important are high Google PageSpeed Insights score for SEO?”

Mueller recommends using each of these different tools and looking at the data to discover low hanging fruit on your web pages. That refers to anything that could be easily improved to give pages a boost in speed. So look for the quick wins, in other words.

Splitt answers the question from the perspective of someone giving the report to a third-party – such as an SEO giving the report to a developer to make improvements.

Each of the tools in question measure slightly different things and present the results in different ways. So Splitt suggests being mindful of that and using the tool that’s best for your audience.

Question 3: Chrome DevTools

“I am testing an almost empty page on #devtools Audits (v5.1.0) it usually gives minimum results which 0.8ms for everything and 20ms for FID (First Input Delay) but sometimes it gives worse results in TTI (Time to Interactive), FCI (First CPU Idle) and FID. Same page, same code. Why?”

Splitt says these measurements aren’t always exact and there will always be some fluctuation between them. Even a fluctuation between 0.8ms and 20ms is not considered unusual, and Splitt notes that it takes roughly 20ms for a single frame to draw.

With that in mind, try not to get too hung up on numbers unless you see something wildly out of the ordinary. If you start seeing measurements ranging from 20 seconds to 1 minute, for example, then it’s time to be concerned.

Question 4: Best Metrics to Analyze

“What is the best metric(s) to look at when deciding if page speed is “good” or not? Why / why not should we focus on metrics like FCP (First Contentful Paint) / FMP (First Meaningful Paint) instead of scores given by tools like PageSpeed Insight?”

Short answer – “it depends.”

The importance of these metrics vary according to what users are doing on your site. If users are just going to your site to read content, and not really interacting with anything, then FMP & FCP would be the more important metrics to look at.

On the other hand, if it’s an interactive web application where people are landing on the page and immediately interacting with things, then metrics like TTI & FCI would be the best ones to look at.

Splitt and Mueller both agree that page speed is more complicated than what can be conveyed by any single metric. They recommend looking at multiple sets of data and finding areas of improvement according to what’s most important for your audience.

See the full video below:

Google Responds To Microsoft’S Gotcha Moment In Patent War Situation

Google Responds to Microsoft’s Gotcha Moment in Patent War Situation [UPDATE: Microsoft Responds Again]

Just yesterday there was a rather interesting announcement made by mister David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Google which noted how Microsoft and Apple had joined forces to purchase patents then used to stop the progress of Android via amounts of cash required to be payed per Android-toting device manufactured. This original announcement was responded to by Microsoft who then noted that they’d offered to have Google join in on their bids for the patent collection they’re now using, now Google has responded back. Sort of like a high school message board, wouldn’t you say?

Drummond’s response to the email which Microsoft presented showing irrefutable evidence that Google was indeed invited to join in on the bid for the collection of patents now in question was made a short while ago today. Drummond notes that Google does not find it surprising that Microsoft would want to “divert attention” away from the subject at hand with “a false gotcha!” while continuing to “fail to address the substance of the issue” the group had raised.

What Drummond means and says furthermore is that anyone other than the public domain / open-source community owning said Novell patents would take away any group’s ability to defend themselves against attacks by those who WOULD own said patents. Drummond maintains that it is Microsoft and the rest of Google’s competitors who are aiming to use what they’ve purchased in a “patent war” which would stifle production of devices and stop innovation rather than allowing these patents to stay open and free so that it is features and devices that make a company prosper.

Drummond notes that a joint acquisition of the Nortel patents was an ingenious strategy made by Microsoft and the rest of Google’s partners so that Google would pay for the right to keep and assert these patents to defend Android against those who would, again, use said patents to wage war on those manufacturers without the cash to get in on the deal.

What’s ultimately happened though already is the there U.S. Department of Justice has intervened (this was before this whole new back and forth started) and forced Microsoft to sell the patents it bought and demanded that the winning group (Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, EMC), give a license to the open-source community. The Department of Justic again said that this set of changes was “necessary to protect competition and innovation in the open source software community.” You can read all about that case here.

We’ll continue to cover this massively important cat fight as it plays out into the future.

UPDATE: Frank Shaw, aka who we’ve been referring to as Microsoft on Twitter thus far, has replied again in several Tweets, underwriting the importance of the situation of course. In his series of Tweets, saying that instead of what Drummond says, Google wanted the patents all for themselves so that they could sue others instead. What a silly fight this is turning out to be, yes?

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