Katie's Week In Review: February 28, 2016

Another interesting week in Apple v. FBI and more rumors of a smaller iPad Pro. Here are links of note for the week ending February 28, 2016:

  • Apple went on the offensive this week both fighting both the public relations battle and the legal one over creating specialized software to assist the FBI in decrypting the work iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers. Apple has posted a Question and Answer on their Web site as a follow-up to Tim Cook’s original open letter.
  • Tim Cook sat down with David Muir of ABC news for an exclusive interview and discussed the situation at length. Clips of the interview aired on various ABC programing but the full interview (approx. 30 minutes) is available online.
  • The FBI responded with FBI Director James Comey issuing comments on the San Bernardino Matter on the FBI’s Web site.
  • Meanwhile, Apple has filed it’s Motion to Vacate the previous order that required it to assist in the investigation. Dawn Chmielewski and Noah Kulwin of Re/code provide some initial analysis as well as a link to the full pleading. (I enjoyed reading it!) Among some of the new information learned in the pleading, Apple believes that it would take a team of engineers roughly a month to create the software the FBI has requested.
  • While this issue is destined for a lengthy court battle, The House Judiciary Committee has announced it will hold a hearing on encryption in which both Apple Chief Legal Counsel Bruce Sewell and FBI Director James Comey will testify. (Cromey and Sewell are on separate panels.) The hearing is scheduled for March 1st.
  • In the wake of the battle over encryption and privacy, Tim Bradshaw of the Financial Times reports that Apple is working on new ways to beef up customers’ iCloud encryption. As this story has unfolded we have learned (unsurprisingly) that Apple has turned over information held in iCloud backups for this specific iPhone and has complied with thousands of such requests upon subpoena in the past. Certain encrypted data (such as health information and keychain passwords) are not backed up to iCloud, but iCloud backups do contain significant information about the data on an iPhone. Regardless of the outcome of this particular legal battle, I suspect we will continue to see Apple increase security on its devices and cloud services in the future.
  • Turning to near-term Apple products, Mark Gurman of 9to5 Mac has more information about the upcoming refresh to the iPad. He claims that Apple will launch a 9.7“ iPad Pro, not an iPad Air 3 as previously reported. While this may cause more splintering of the iPad lines, the new 9.7” iPad Pro is said to gain all the features of the current Pro, including Smart Keyboard and Pencil support as well as a faster processor and improved sound system.
  • Speaking of future product launches, Kara Swisher of Re/Code says Apple’s Spring Product event will be held the week of March 21st, not March 15th as previously reported. It’s unclear whether the event has been delayed or if this was always the intended week.
  • Mark Gurman has another rumor this week, this time about the Mac. He says Siri will finally come to the Mac as a tentpole feature for this Fall’s OS X launch. I’ve long suspected it would just be a matter of time before Siri support came to the Mac, this only makes sense. Let’s just hope that she’s up to it.
  • There’s been a lot of debate recently about whether your “an iPad person” or “a Mac person” implying that we have to choose a side. Jason Snell penned an article for Macworld explain why he’s on “team both.”
  • For someone who’s pretty squarely on “team iPad” Federico Viticci has a lengthy article on MacStories explaining why the iPad is still his favorite computer.
  • David Sparks explains how he has become a convert to Apple Notes and stores nearly 800 notes on the platform. I’m personally skeptical about Apple notes and am adopting a “wait and see” approach. David will be my canary in the coal mine.
  • There’s a wonderful article by Dan Frakes on the Wirecutter about what you should and shouldn’t do to extend the battery life of your phone, including dispelling some myths that just won’t seem to die. Stay tuned, Dan will be on a future MPU Live episode discussing this article in more depth.
  • File this one under “Hell Frozen Over”, Facebook has added a new Reactions button to posts. While it’s not a “unlike” button, you can now add a reaction indicating your “like”, “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad” or “angry” to a post.
  • As reported by Frederic Lardinos of TechCrunch Amazon has again quietly raised the free shipping minimum for those without Amazon Prime to $50. This is presumably due to an increase in shipping and fulfillment costs, which Amazon has said has gone up almost 33% year-over-year. Another great reason to become an Amazon Prime member.
  • Finally, Clayton Morris, weekend anchor of Fox and Friends and tech guru, interviewed Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery regarding his policy that his office would stop issuing iPhones as a result of Apple’s current legal dispute with the FBI. Good on ’ya Clayton…