After successfully cracking the San Bernardino iPhone without Apple’s help, the FBI is now said to be testing to determine whether the technique can be used to unlock other versions and models of the iPhone, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. Apple is still trying to identify the security flaw that allowed the FBI to gain access to the iPhone in question, and the FBI has not been forthcoming with any details about the technique that was used or even what it found on the iPhone, and this latest report suggests that it may take officials “many more months” to decide what to do with these new capabilities.
A number of iPhone users on the Sprint network have reported problems connecting to LTE networks following the recent iOS 9.3 update. Users on Twitter and reddit are saying that their iPhones are only connecting to 3G, and that resets are not solving the problem in most cases. While the specific iPhone models are not entirely clear, most of the affected users appear to be using the latest devices. Sprint has also reportedly been sending out text messages to subscribers acknowledging the problem, noting that it’s “working quickly” on a fix. It’s not clear if the iOS 9.3.1 update addresses this issue, but it seems unlikely to be the case, and the problem is more likely related to a Sprint Carrier Update configuration file that was pushed out to Sprint users around the same time as the iOS 9.3 update was released. [via MacRumors]
iFixit has posted its teardown of the iPhone SE, confirming many of the findings that Chipworks made in yesterday’s teardown, as well as highlighting how many of the parts in the new 4” iPhone SE are actually identical to those found in the iPhone 5s, allowing many of them to be interchanged between models. iFixit noted that the displays between the two models are “pretty much identical” when compared side-by-side, and that the 5s display can in fact be used in the SE, which means that the older replacement parts and instructions can be used with the new iPhone model. The speaker, vibration motor, and SIM card tray are also identical to those used in the iPhone 5s. While all of the internal chips have naturally been upgraded — mostly to their iPhone 6s counterparts — other dissimilarities were also found, with iFixit observing that the larger 1624 mAh battery is not interchangeable with the one from the iPhone 5s as it uses a different connector. While the battery is a minor capacity increase from the 1560 mAh version found in the iPhone 5s, it’s not quite up to the 1715 mAh power found in the iPhone 6s. Similarly, while the iPhone SE camera sports the same capabilities as its iPhone 6s counterpart, iFixit found that the cameras were not interchangeable between the two models, and while the Lightning connector assembly in the iPhone SE looks basically identical to the iPhone 5s version, the connectors are a “smidge different” and the connectors can’t be used interchangeably.
Following reports earlier this week of a hyperlink bug which was causing freezes and crashes on some iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus units, Apple has released iOS 9.3.1, a minor update that promises to fix the issue. As usual, the update is available now through Settings > General > Software Update, or can be installed using a Mac or PC via iTunes.
We’ve just gotten our hands on Apple’s iPhone SE and have posted a number of unboxing and comparison photos, looking at the new 4” iPhone model alongside its larger siblings, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Be on the lookout for our full, independent, comprehensive iPhone SE review, coming on Monday.
Chipworks has posted a teardown of the new iPhone SE, revealing the hybrid nature of the device, with many iPhone 6s components mixed in with iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 internals. As expected, the new four-inch iPhone includes the same A9 flagship processor as the one found in the iPhone 6s, bearing a part number and date code indicating that it originated in a TSMC facility only nine weeks ago. The teardown also reveals the same 2GB LPDDR4 mobile DRAM used in the iPhone 6s, 16GB of Toshiba flash, and a NXP 66V10 NFC and Secure Element chip, again the same one as used in the iPhone 6s. Other components that Chipworks identified in common with the iPhone 6s include the audio chips and the six-axis inertial sensor. On the other hand, the Qualcomm modem and RF transceiver in the iPhone SE are from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus generation, while Broadcom and TI chips are from the iPhone 5s generation. Chipworks noted a new Texas Instruments chip in the iPhone SE as well, bearing a 338S00170 number, which the report describes as likely to be a new Apple/Dialog power management circuit, as well as a Skyworks SKY77611 power amplifier, an EPCOS D5255 antenna switch module, and an AAC Technologies 0DALM1 microphone.
Now that the FBI has cracked San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone without Apple’s assistance, the company is left with the daunting task of fixing a security vulnerability it knows nothing about. Unlike other security issues where Apple is working to solve a known problem, the company has so far received no information from the FBI about the method used to break into the device. To complicate issues further, The New York Times reports Apple’s security operations have been in a state of transition since late last year, when Dallas DeAtley, leader of the Core OS Security Engineering team and the manager responsible for most government data extraction requests, left that team to work in a different part of the company.
Apple has issued a public response after the U.S. government dropped its lawsuit demanding the company’s assistance in hacking into a terrorist’s iPhone, with the company saying it will continue to aid law enforcement while also continuing to increase the security of its products. “From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent,” Apple said. “As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.”
The U.S. Justice Department said it gained access to the information on San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone without Apple’s help and has dropped its lawsuit against the company, Reuters reports. Last week prosecutors asked for a delay the day before a court showdown with Apple, saying the FBI was working with a third party to gain access to the phone. While reports claimed Israeli company Cellebrite was the third party working on breaking Apple’s encryption, law enforcement officials haven’t publicly revealed the party responsible for the hack, or what was found on the phone. “The FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple required by this Court Order,” DOJ spokeswoman Melanie Newman said in a statement. Apple had requested that the FBI share information on how it accessed the phone, but an unnamed law enforcement source refused to tell CNN whether the FBI would make good on that request. “We can’t comment on the possibility of future disclosures at this point,” the official said. Apple declined to comment on the news.
Apple has released a new version of iOS 9.3 with build number of 13E237, designed specifically for older iOS devices. The first finished public release of iOS 9.3 had an issue during the activation process. Users of such devices — including the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and earlier devices — who were unable to recall their Apple ID info could find their devices rendered inaccessible. This new build is meant to provide a fix for that problem. We’re also awaiting an iOS update for everyone that will provide a fix for the current hyperlink bug seen in Safari and elsewhere after updating to iOS 9.3, but it appears like we’ll have to wait a little longer on that front.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting a drastic redesign of the iPhone coming in 2017, including wireless charging, AMOLED displays and a “completely new form factor design” with narrower bezels. Kuo has pushed up his estimate for Apple’s release of AMOLED displays in iPhones, now backing previous rumors that customers will see the technology next year in a 5.8-inch iPhone that will completely replace the 5.5-inch iPhone, provided Apple can get enough of the larger AMOLED displays in time.
Sony has announced plans to develop mobile games for the “smart device market” under a newly-formed subsidiary, ForwardWorks Corporation. The new mobile gaming arm will “leverage the intellectual property” of a number of PlayStation games and characters in developing gaming applications for the iOS and Android platforms, although it appears that it will be focusing these releases on the Japanese and Asian markets. While Sony seems to clearly be following the lead of Nintendo, which debuted its first game Miitomo in the Japanese App Store earlier this month, in contrast to Nintendo’s efforts, it appears ForwardWorks will be delivering “full-fledged game titles” for users to “casually enjoy” on their mobile devices. [via TechCrunch]
Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is said to be the company helping the FBI in its efforts to crack the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reports. Cellebrite officials refused to comment, but the company has been providing the FBI with decryption technology since 2013. Yesterday, a judge approved a two-week postponement of the FBI’s court action against Apple as the government explores a “third-party” method of unlocking the iPhone.
Google has been developing its own third-party keyboard for iOS that would incorporate the company’s search engine, The Verge reports. Sources said the keyboard has been in circulation among employees for months and is designed to boost the search traffic from Apple devices by providing one-button access to picture, GIF and traditional web searches. Like its Android counterpart, Google’s iOS keyboard also employs gesture-based typing, allowing users to drag their finger from one letter to the next and have Google guess their intended word.
Both the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro will include 2GB of RAM alongside their A9 and A9X processors, according to a tweet from TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino. This further puts the iPhone SE on par with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in terms of raw processing power, although the 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes in slightly less powerful than its larger counterpart, which includes 4GB of RAM. Panzarino also notes that the A9X in the standard-sized iPad is underclocked in comparison to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, although it’s worth noting that the smaller tablet can likely get away with less RAM and CPU power to drive the smaller display, which includes only slightly more than half the pixels of the larger model — 3,145,728 as opposed to 5,595,136.
U.S. prosecutors have postponed their showdown with Apple by two weeks to try a “third party” method for unlocking the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, Reuters reports. A federal judge granted the Department of Justice’s request to stall the hearing until April 5 while the FBI tries the newly discovered method to unlock the phone, which is at the center of a case which has seen Apple refusing to cooperate with the FBI’s request to develop new software for disabling the phone’s password security features. Until Monday, the government insisted it had no other way to access the iPhone, and lawyers supporting Apple said the timing of the request for delay suggests the DOJ feared it would lose a legal battle based on the assertion that it had tried every other way to get into the phone. “From a purely technical perspective, one of the most fragile parts of the government’s case is the claim that Apple’s help is required to unlock the phone,” said Matt Blaze, a professor and computer security expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “Many in the technical community have been skeptical that this is true, especially given the government’s considerable resources.” The government’s use of the All Writs Act had also recently come into doubt after a judge ruled the AWA couldn’t be used to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone in a similar case.
Apple officially announced the release of iOS 9.3 today during the company’s special event in Cupertino, and the update is now available. Originally released in January to developers, and then later as part of the company’s public beta program, iOS 9.3 is an unusually feature-packed update for a point iOS release, as we observed in our early analysis of the betas.
As expected from recent reports, Apple today announced the new 4-inch iPhone SE. Apple VP Greg Joswiak took the stage to highlight the new addition to the company’s iPhone lineup, explaining that, despite the popularity of larger-screened iPhone models, a market for a 4-inch iPhone still exists, as “some people love smaller phones” and many users are still new to the iPhone entirely, especially in markets such as China.
The U.S. Supreme Court will review a judge’s decision to award Apple $548 million in damages from Samsung in a patent infringement case, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple had hoped the Supreme Court wouldn’t get involved, arguing that the lower court had appropriately assessed the fines. The Cupertino company also deemed the case “legally unexceptional” despite the high dollar amount involved. A federal appeals court upheld the awarded damages last December, but the Supreme Court will now hear Samsung’s appeal that the 1887 law cited is “outdated and too punitive for modern products such as a smartphone.” A jury ruled that basic design elements of certain Samsung smartphones were too close to Apple’s iPhone design, but Samsung argues that those design aspects don’t affect the functionality of the phone. [via Apple Insider]