[ The New York Times ] Matt Apuzzo and Katie Benner:
Each iPhone has a built-in troubleshooting system that lets the company update the system software without the need for a user to enter a password. Apple designed that feature to make it easier to repair malfunctioning phones.
This is the crack FBI wants to break wide open by legally forcing Apple to build a weakened operating system and update the iPhones it wants to hack into.
Now that the government has tried to force Apple to hack its own code, security officials say, the company must view itself as the vulnerability. That means engineers will have to design a lock they absolutely cannot break.
A system update that requires the user to enter a password sounds like a reasonable tradeoff: we gain a lot more security and lose a little convenience. If Apple can’t hack its own code, then the government can’t force Apple to hack its own code.