Saturday December 16, 2017
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US vs Apple Inc: Who will have the upper hand?

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Apple
Photo: pixabay.com

By Advik Gupta 

The United States government is trying to access an Apple iPhone of a shooter named Syed Rizwan Farook in San Bernardino for which it requires Apple Inc.’s help. The government has ordered Apple to develop a special tool which will help it in breaking into the shooter’s iPhone. Apple on the other hand is not complying with the government’s request as such a move will threaten consumer security and would set a dangerous precedent for the future. They are worried that once they create the tool, the system will be compromised and lose its authenticity and there will always be a risk of it getting into the wrong hands. This is not the first time we are witnessing a ‘US vs Apple Inc.’ battle. Even in 2012, there was a suit filed by the United States that alleged Apple Inc. and five book publishing companies of conspiring to raise the price for e-books which was in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The issue is that if the FBI tries to access the iPhone by ‘Brute Force’ i.e. by attempting every possible code combination until the right one is entered, it risks losing the data forever as there is no way to check whether the iPhone 5c in possession with the shooter has the ‘ten-attempt security freeze’ enabled. Even Apple itself cannot provide access due to a random unique key that is generated. Hence FBI wants Apple to develop an OS update which would do away the security measure. Asking Apple to give a tool to bypass it is much more than asking it for a hack into its own software. It also means hurting the Apple brand.

The story takes a new turn as Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower tweets doubting the claims made by FBI that accessing the phone is so necessary. He said that FBI already has the communications records (stored by the service provider) of the suspect and also backups of all the suspect’s data until six weeks before the crime. He also explains that there are other ways of breaking into the device rather than getting a tool made by Apple and undermining its brand, although FBI denies this fact. Also since the iPhone was a government issued work phone (owned by the employee), this makes it highly improbable for Farook to use that phone to coordinate the attacks given that he made sure that he destroyed his personal phone before dying which means that the odds of finding useful information in the iPhone are very less.

Hence the question now is that whether the FBI really needs Apple’s help in breaking the device and even if it does, who will the lawsuit turn out to be in favour of. Here is a 1 minute video explaining FBI’s stand:

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Donald Trump Planning to meet Putin during his Asia tour

Donald Trump's first trip to Asia is the longest international tour.

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US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. wikimedia commns
  • US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he expected to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his Asia tour.

“I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah. We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders,” Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One before landing at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, Efe reported.

Putin is scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, which Trump will also attend as part of his long Asia tour.

The North Korean nuclear threat is expected to dominate Donald Trump’s meetings in Japan and the next two stages of his tour, South Korea and China, where he will have a highly anticipated sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The remainder of the tour will be more focused on economic issues, with Trump scheduled to take part in the APEC meeting in Da Nang and then in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.

Donald Trump’s first trip to Asia is the longest international tour by a US head of state since the one then-President George H.W. Bush embarked on in 1992.

Bush became ill at the end of that trip, famously vomiting on the Japanese prime minister’s lap at a formal dinner before fainting.(IANS)

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Apple losing out AI race to Google, Amazon: Report

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Apple losing out AI race to Google, Amazon: Report

November 3, 2017, 10:32 IST: Essentially a hardware-focused firm, Apple is falling behind in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) race with Google and Amazon racing ahead while embracing the open-source and collaborative approach in the emerging field of AI, Fortune reported.

According to Mohanbir Sawhney, McCormick Foundation professor of technology at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, sheets of glass are simply no longer the most fertile ground for innovation.

“That means Apple urgently needs to shift its focus and investment to AI-driven technologies, as part of a broader effort to create the kind of ecosystem Amazon and Google are building quickly,” Sawhney wrote in Fortune.

According to him, Apple has reached its peak with “super premium” iPhone X and “does not represent the beginning of the next 10 years of the smartphone, as Apple claims”. Apple launched the iPhone X globally. Players pursue innovation along a vector of differentiation until the vector runs out of steam.

“When that happens, the focus of innovation shifts to a different vector and new market leaders emerge. We have seen this pattern several times in mobile phone innovation over the past three decades,” Sawhney said.

he vector of differentiation is now shifting from hardware to AI and AI-based software and agents.

“As AI-driven phones like Google’s Pixel 2 and virtual agents like Amazon Echo proliferateaToday’s smartphones will likely recede into the background,” he stressed.

Google Pixel phones offers great photo-enhancement features and deeper hardware-software integration driven by AI-based technology. The second edition of Pixel features 5-inch display, 4GB RAM, 12MP rear and 8MP front camera, and 2,700mAH battery. Google will bring Pixel 2 XL (6-inch display) into the Indian market from November 15 onwards.

The Amazon Echo enables natural conversations through the Alexa virtual agent.

“Apple has only to look at Motorola, Nokia, and Blackberry to understand how quickly a leader can fall from the peak in this market, and do its best to avert this outcome,” Sawhney added. (IANS)

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iPhone X yet to arrive at resellers in India, Apple says no worries

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Iphone X
Apple iPhone 'X' mockup. Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 2,2017: With less than 24 hours left for the arrival of Apple’s “super Premium” iPhone X in India amid heavy pre-booking, Apple premium resellers on Thursday were yet to receive the stocks to begin delivering the Rs 89,000 device (starting price for 64GB variant) to those who pre-booked it.

Apple India, however, said that the company normally delivers new iPhone units either on the previous night or on the same day of the arrival.

“We are launching the much-awaited iPhone X tomorrow. Every company works in its own way. We try and avoid sending units in advance. So, if the launch is tomorrow, the iPhone X units will arrive tomorrow or later tonight,” a senior Apple executive told IANS.

Some of the authorised Apple resellers in the Delhi-NCR region told IANS that they have not yet been notified about the availability of the devices that have been advertised as arriving in India on November 3.

“You will be informed tomorrow only about the availability of iPhone X. We have not got the devices so far,” a representative from Imagine Store, an Apple Premium Reseller in Gurugram, told IANS.

“We cannot assure if you will get the device tomorrow. Those who had pre-booked the iPhone X are requested to wait for our call. It completely depends on the availability,” he added.

Even supply chain solution provider Redington India and HCL Infosystems that sell newly-launched iPhones on their partner stores were yet to send any information on iPhone X.

When contacted, a representative from iWorld from Kamla Nagar said they did not have any iPhone X stock yet.

“Our store hasn’t got any iPhone X yet. I will be able to tell you the details only tomorrow. As far as timings are concerned, last year, the sale of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus started in the evening. We are expecting the iPhone X sales will commence in the evening this year as well,” he told IANS.

An iNvent Apple premium reseller in North Delhi had earlier told IANS they were yet to receive iPhone X stocks.

“We have not received a single unit of iPhone X so far. We do not know if they have been already shipped or not. The devices are expected to reach us the day it goes on sale or maybe a day before. For iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, we had received the stock earlier,” said a sales representative from iNvent.

In the past few days, several media reports have claimed that Apple is facing a huge supply gap primarily for two reasons: difficulties in assembling the new facial identification software and 3D camera, and “off the charts” pre-orders for iPhone X after the Apple fraternity didn’t make the expected beeline for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Analysts have already warned that the stock on hand is scarce, owing to constrained supply of key iPhone X components. The advanced depth-sensing camera system in iPhone X requires parts that only a few manufacturers can produce.

The iPhone X, which marks the 10th anniversary of the device, costs Rs 89,000 for a 64GB model and Rs 1.02 lakh for the 256GB variant.

Meanwhile, iPhone X has got a frenzied response on e-commerce site Amazon.in. The device went on pre-order on the site on October 27 and was out of stock within a few minutes.(IANS)