Tim Cook: “This is Not What Should Be Happening in This Country”

[ On The Wire ] Dennis Fisher:

“If a court can ask us to write this software, think about what else they could ask us to write. Maybe it’s an operating system for surveillance, maybe the ability for law enforcement to turn on the camera,” Cook told ABC News.

“I don’t know where this stops, but I do know this isn’t what should be happening in this country.”

If this country continues down this route it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to foresee a lot of technology companies moving out in the near future. I don’t think the majority of tech companies in this country want to become an arm of the FBI, NSA, or other government organization.

Google Parent Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft to Support Apple in Fight Against FBI

[ The Wall Street Journal ] Deepa Deetharaman and Jack Nicas:

Several tech companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., plan to file a joint motion supporting Apple Inc. in its court fight against the Justice Department over unlocking an alleged terrorist’s iPhone, according to people familiar with the companies’ plans.

At first I thought the FBI wanted Apple to help unlock a single iPhone. But that’s not true: the FBI wants Apple to weaken its iOS operating system so it can unlock a bunch of other iPhones. The FBI knows this will set a legal precedent so it can continue to force Apple to weaken security on its products and services. Google’s parent company Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft, and probably a few more know they will be targeted to no end if the FBI gets its way with Apple.

Apple Working On Making iPhones Harder to Hack

[ 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.

Facebook Reactions

[ Wired ] Liz Stinson:

Your news feed is about to get a lot more expressive. After months of user testing in a handful of countries, Facebook today is releasing “Reactions” to the rest of the world. The feature isn’t so much a new tool as it is an extension of an existing one; by long-pressing—or, on a computer, hovering—over the “like” button, users can now access five additional animated emoji with which to express themselves. Each emotive icon is named for the reaction it’s meant to convey.

Like Love Haha
Angry Wow Sad

Senator Ron Wyden: Backdoors Are Losers

[ The Daily Dot ] Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):

“One of the reasons we got here is because the NSA overreached,” he said. “They overreached on [collecting phone and Internet] metadata, and the companies saw their consumers losing confidence, and the companies built strong encryption in order to respond to their consumers’ desire for both security and privacy. If the government overreaches now, and is able, as a matter of policy, to require companies to build weaknesses into their products—backdoors—I’m going to say, ‘Backdoors are losers.’ That will be the centerpiece of our argument on the floor of the Senate.”

The NSA overreached, the public reacted, and the companies provided. If the FBI wins against Apple and sets a legal precedent that forces Apple to design weakened systems to allow law enforcement a way in the backdoor, what happens then? Remember what happened to BlackBerry when governments started to get their way with the company’s secure communications systems? What will Apple do? What will we do? Go back to writing letters? Maybe, I don’t know.

Samsung Galaxy S7: Tested Best Performing Smartphone Display by Raymond Soneira

[ DisplayMate ] Raymond Soneira:

The Galaxy S7 introduces two important display enhancements. There is a new interactive Personalized Automatic Brightness Control that learns and remembers the display brightness settings that you set for various ambient light levels so you get your own customized personal visual brightness preferences instead of some pre-programmed manufacturer settings found in other smartphones, tablets, and TVs. This not only improves the screen readability in ambient light but also the running time on battery because you’ll just see the screen Brightness levels that you need. It is the first smartphone, tablet, or TV to do Automatic Brightness correctly. And there is also a new Always On Display mode that will show various personalized clock, calendar, status messages, notifications and images on the main screen whenever the phone is off (in standby), all day and all night, which can be done with very low power on an OLED, so you can always discreetly check it with just a glance. In addition, all of the Galaxy OLED displays can be used with polarized sunglasses in both the portrait and landscape orientations, unlike almost all LCDs.

The Galaxy S7 matches or breaks new records in Smartphone display performance for:
Highest Absolute Color Accuracy (1.5 JNCD), Highest Peak Brightness (855 nits), Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light (186), Highest Screen Resolution (2560×1440), Highest (infinite) Contrast Ratio, and Smallest Brightness Variation with Viewing Angle (28 percent). In addition, almost every display lab test and measurement shows some improvements compared to the Galaxy S6. See the main Display Shoot-Out Comparison Table for all of the measurements and details.

Automatic brightness control done right, finally. Perhaps Apple can steal this idea and update the not-as-smart algorithm that makes my iPhone too bright or not bright enough on too many occasions.

The always-on mode is great because you don’t have to push a button just to check the time. You don’t want to implement an always-on mode on LCDs because that would consume too much energy since the backlight will be always on, too. I’d like to simply glance at my phone and see the time.

Polarized sunglasses: I highly recommend them to you. Good quality polarized sunglasses can dramatically eliminate glare, which means your eyes are more comfortable and things you see are clearer. Just not your iPhone. I have polarized sunglasses — my wife is an optometrist so she insisted and I am glad she did — and when I have those on and look at my iPhone let’s just say what I see isn’t the prettiest thing.

When it comes to display technology Samsung is on top with its smartphone OLED displays, and the Galaxy S7 is the best. Looking forward to an iPhone with an OLED display. Soon?

AGC Asahi Glass’s New Smartphone Cover Glass Enables Fingerprint Scans

[ AGC (PDF) ] Asahi Glass launched a smartphone cover glass with a recession on its underside to accommodate a fingerprint sensor. Now the top of your smartphone can be completely smooth top to bottom and still have a fingerprint reader.

The only challenge might be to locate the fingerprint reader if your eyes are on the road. I locate the fingerprint reader on my iPhone by touch, not sight. Perhaps if there was a thin circular laser etching where the fingerprint reader is on the cover glass?

With Apple’s Force Touch and AGC’s multi-thick smartphone cover glass design I can see a future iPhone with a completely smooth front. Except for the speaker cutout toward the top for your ears when you use your iPhone as a phone. Maybe someone will find a way to develop a smartphone cover glass that can pass sound waves.


[ BuzzFeed ] John Paczkowski:

The Apple ID password linked to the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists was changed less than 24 hours after the government took possession of the device, senior Apple executives said Friday. If that hadn’t happened, Apple said, a backup of the information the government was seeking may have been accessible.

According to James Grimmelmann the password was changed by the County of San Bernardino. Seems like something fishy is going on over there.

Donald Trump Calls For Apple Boycott

[ 9to5Mac ] Zac Hall:

Here’s the kicker: As news broke that Trump was calling for a boycott on Apple until it cooperates with the FBI, Donald Trump (or whoever manages his Twitter account) was tweeting a series of unrelated messages … from Twitter for iPhone.

Now Donald Trump is using Twitter for Android. Another interesting tidbit:

Maybe this explains why close Trump ally and infamous Apple investor Carl Icahn (who Trump wants as Treasury Secretary) recently dumped millions of Apple shares.

If you watch the video of Trump calling for a boycott on Apple, he mentions that he just thought of it. Why would he emphasize that? (I haven’t watched many election-related political videos so it might be that Trump regularly says he just came up with something.)