Are Apple iPhone 8 rumours set to infuriate users?
Apple is reportedly considering changes to its next edition of the iPhone that are guaranteed to annoy users everywhere.
Just five years after its introduction, leaks suggest Apple will replace its Lightning port for the upcoming iPhone 8.
And according to experts, many of the rumoured changes could turn away even diehard Apple fans as the company “eats away at its own designs”.
The iPhone 8 is tipped to feature a USB-C port instead of its Lightning port, moving away from a proprietary Apple-designed connection for the first time, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Apple had already embraced USB-C in its updated line of MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, all of which include widely-used USB-C ports exclusively.
However, a similar switch on its flagship iPhones are expected to frustrate long-time Apple consumers, who have already been forced to change adaptors when the 30-pin connector was rendered useless at the launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012.
That major shift cost users at least $A30 per connector – and if rumours are true, consumers will be forced to fork out once more.
“In other words, people who have actually spent money in the past on Apple-only peripherals will have to now buy a new connector – again. It will annoy them,” RMIT University information technology lecturer John Lenarcic said.
“If they have a new connector, people have to buy it. Simple.”
The change raises questions over the future of Apple’s wireless AirPods and lightning-enabled earbuds.
Available for less than a year, AirPods require a connection to the Lightning port to charge, and if the rumours are true, iPhone 7 users could be paying for adapters to use the proclaimed “industry leading” $A229 earphones.
Apple ‘trying to mimic Samsung’
The leaked iPhone 8 details also fuel speculation that Apple’s new smartphone will include a curved OLED screen – bringing the company’s “visionary capacity” into question.
“The curved screen sounds like they are trying to mimic Samsung,” Mr Lenarcic said, calling the rumoured change an “act of desperation” from the tech giant as it moves away from its trademark “Apple ecology” to better compete with its biggest rival.
Concept art of what the iPhone 8 could look like below:
“Apple ecology dictated that to use Apple products you basically had to buy Apple components and Apple software, accessories etc. You couldn’t mix and match,” Mr Lenarcic explained.
And as a result, Apple’s ‘uniqueness’ could rub off for even the most ardent Apple fan.
“When people were buying things that were uniquely apple, they were part of a special club. Now the veneer of being unique may rub off and will annoy diehard Apple fans,” Mr Lenarcic said.
“Apple could be seen as trying to become like Samsung.”
What to expect from the iPhone 8
A new next-generation processor – expected to be the A11 chip which will be both faster and more energy efficient, in addition to being smaller.
Glass and stainless steel body – Apple is rumoured to be moving away from the aluminium body that it’s been using since 2012 and re-adopt the glass-backed body used for the iPhone 4s.
Extended or edge-to-edge display – three versions are rumoured for the iPhone: A premium OLED model and two standard LCD devices, with sizes that may include 4.7, 5 (OLED), and 5.5 inches.
Wireless charging – the company’s plan has been hinted to involve inductive charging, which uses a charging station and an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between the two objects.
Virtual home button
Enhanced water resistance – to continue working through brief submersion in water with an improved IP68 water resistance rating.
Dual-lens camera-enabled AR capabilities – the front-facing camera could be used for facial or iris recognition.
Support for the Apple Pencil
An alternative to Touch ID such as a face or iris scanner or acoustic fingerprint sensor
3GB of RAM plus more storage, ranging from a 64GB base model and 256GB top tier model
The iPhone 8 is likely to launch in September 2017.
You may very well have read (on this blog here and here) about the latest leak supposedly sourced from the secret data stolen by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The three-bullet version tells approximately this story:
Intelligence services managed to penetrate the network of a major SIM card manufacturer.
They got hold of large amounts of cryptographic key material.
They can therefore eavesdrop millions, perhaps even billions, of mobile devices.
Actually, there’s a subtle rider to the last item. Having copies of the keys in the story doesn’t just let you listen in to present and future calls, but theoretically to decrypt old calls, too. Understandably, a lot of coverage of what The Intercept has boldly entitled “The Great SIM Heist” is focusing on issues such as the audacity of the intelligence services. There’s also speculation about the possible financial cost to the SIM manufacturer connected with (though not implicated in) the breach.
But we think there’s a more interesting angle to zoom in on, namely, “What is it about SIM cards that made this possible?”
After all, according to the story, there wasn’t really a “SIM heist” after all. No SIM card was ever touched, physically or programmatically. No SIMs were stolen or modified; no sneaky extra steps were inserted into the manufacturing process; there were no interdictions to intercept and substitute SIMs on the way to specific targets; there was no malware or hacking needed on any handsets or servers in the mobile network.
What was grabbed, if we have interpreted the claims correctly, was a giant list of cryptographic keys for an enormous stash of SIMs. Many, if not most, of these have presumably (given the age of Snowden’s revelations) already been sold, deployed, used, and in some cases, cancelled and thrown away. And yet these keys still have surveillance and intelligence-gathering value, both for already-intercepted but still uncracked call data, and for calls yet to be made by SIMs on the list.
How can that be?
The basic purpose of a SIM card is exactly what its name suggests: to act as a (User) Subscriber Identity Module. (That’s why your mobile phone number isn’t – the number goes with your SIM from phone to phone, not the other way around.)
A SIM is a smartcard: it doesn’t just store data, like the magstripe on a non-smartcard does, but is also a miniature computer with secure storage and tamper protection.
That ought to make it ideal for cryptographic purposes, such as:
Secure authentication to the mobile network. (This protects the company’s revenue by ensuring it can bill you accurately for calls.)
Secure authentication of the network to your phone. (This makes it harder for imposters to man-in-the-middle your calls.)
Secure encryption of calls. (This protects you from eavesdropping, which was a real problem with earlier mobile phones.)
Resistance to SIM duplication. (This protects you and the network from “phone cloning,” where someone else racks up calls on your dime.)
You’re probably expecting the techniques used for (1) and (2) to involve public-key cryptography.
That’s where you have an encryption algorithm with two keys: one of them locks messages, so you can give that public key to anybody and everybody; the other is the private key that unlocks messages, which you keep to yourself. This feature – one key to lock and another to unlock – can be used in two splendidly useful ways.
If I lock a message with your public key, I know that only you can unlock it, if you’ve been careful with your private key. In other words, I can communicate secrets to you without the tricky prospect of securely and secretly sharing a secret key with you first. (Read that twice, just in case.)
On the other hand, if you scramble a message with your private key, anyone can unscramble it with the public key, but when they do, they know that you must have sent it. So I can satisfy myself that it really is you at the other end, again without needing secure and secret channel first.
For item (3), you’re probably expecting another use of public-key cryptography, namely something like Diffie-Hellman-Merkle (DHM) key exchange, where each end agrees on a one-time encryption key that can never be recovered from sniffed traffic.
That means that even if someone records your entire call, including the “cryptographic dance” each end does with the other at the start, there isn’t enough data in the intercept alone to decrypt the call later, providing that both ends throw away the one-time key when the call ends. The property of preventing decryption later on is known as forward secrecy, though it’s probably easier to think of it as “backwards security.”
The third how?
That’s not how SIM cards work. For both the GSM and UMTS networks (the protocols behind 2G and 3G/4G mobile voice and data), SIM authentication and call encryption rely on a good, old-fashioned shared secret key. You’ll often see that shared secret referred to as Ki, pronounced, simply, “kay-eye.” It’s the key by which your SIM proves its identity and prepares to place a call. When a SIM is manufactured, a randomly-generated Kiis burned into its secure storage. That key can’t be read back out; it can only ever be accessed by software programmed into the SIM that uses it as a cryptographic input; it never emerges, in whole or in part, in the cryptographic output.
If we assume that the SIM’s tamper protection is perfect, and that there are no cryptographic flaws that leak data about Ki(it seems there were some such flaws in the early days, but they have been fixed now), that ought to be that. Even if I target you by borrowing your phone and getting the SIM into my own grubby hands, I can’t access that key, not even if I have an electron microscope and millions of dollars up my sleeve.
One tiny problem
But there’s one tiny problem: namely that a copy of every Kifor every SIM has to be kept for later, when the SIM is sold to a mobile phone operator and subsequently provided to a subscriber.
And as anyone who has uploaded a dodgy selfie onto a social network and seen it turn up later in unexpected places can tell you, the only way to be sure that no copies of confidential content get into circulation is…
…not to make a copy in the first place.
Sadly, secret-key encryption (also known as symmetric encryption) that involves two different parties, such as you and a mobile phone network, relies on having at least two copies of that secret key: one for you, and one for them.
As far as we’re aware, the primary reason that GSM and UMTS rely on shared secret keys, and don’t support forward secrecy, is performance. The processing power of SIM cards, and of many of the mobile devices they are plugged into, isn’t quite enough to do things properly. Public key cryptography is well-known, and can be reasonably efficiently implemented, but it nevertheless isn’t anywhere near as efficient, in terms of CPU power and memory usage, as symmetric encryption. So SIM authentication and call encryption are done nearly-properly instead. With an unsurprising, if disappointing, outcome, assuming that The Intercept has this story correct.
The bottom line
We’ll keep it short.
If you’re going to encrypt your own stuff, do it properly.
Late last year a United States law framed in the name of world peace quietly reached its long arm into a small Melbourne tribunal, persuading it to let a large armaments manufacturer override Australian human rights legislation.
In a decision that went largely unremarked upon, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) agreed to let Thales Australia Ltd and its subsidiary ADI Munitions discriminate racially against their employees, job applicants and contract workers.
The companies won a five-year exemption from six sections of the Equal Opportunity Act so they could comply with stringent US export laws that describe who can and who cannot have access to American military technology and know-how.
Simon Rice, an Australian National University law professor, could only sigh. He is an almost lone voice against the Americans’ capacity for such strongarm tactics in Australian courts.
“It’s legal imperialism,” says Rice, who chairs the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council. “It’s the US saying to everybody in the world: You will deal with us on the terms we will dictate to you.”
There have been scores of such decisions in small courts across the nation since at least 2003, when the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal granted Boeing Australia Holdings some of the first such exemptions.
Because the Australian government relies heavily on US military technology, the big defence manufacturers operating here have, for more than a decade, made a practice of applying for exemptions from our equal opportunity laws so they can stay sweet with the US State Department. All applications, except one in Queensland, have been granted, allowing the companies to bar access to certain employees and contractors to positions where they would have access to sensitive US military goods and services.
This means the workforce is segregated, so that the “wrong” people are not given certain positions, as spelt out by the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), according to Rice, who advises our federal parliamentary human rights committee.
Because the ITAR, which governs the terms with which an importing country can use American defence technology, requires companies to discriminate on the basis of birth or nationality, it conflicts directly with Australian state and territory human rights legislation. Companies either persuade our legal authorities to let them off the hook or they don’t get US State Department clearance to access exported US defence technology.
“It is easier for the companies to get a local exemption than to get this clearance,” explains Rice.
Some people are outright denied access to sensitive American defence exports because their country of birth or dual nationality is on an ITAR list of “proscribed” nations.
The list changes from time to time and barred nations currently include Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Fiji, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Syria and Vietnam – the ancestral homes of many Australian migrants.
There was a salient reminder this week of the reasons for US nervousness over technology security. Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed via German magazine Der Spiegel that Chinese spies had stolen design plans for the Joint Strike Fighter, the aircraft meant to reinforce US aerial dominance. Australia is spending billions of dollars on the same planes.
American lawyers specialising in export laws have described the ITAR as unparalleled in scope, as it reaches across the entire globe. It’s not just about arms, but a whole gamut of hardware and software used for military purposes or space research. It includes ships, planes, lasers and satellite technology, and “export” can simply mean transferring information – even, possibly, according to one analyst, sending an email.
Australia’s foremost specialist in space law, Professor Steven Freeland of the University of Western Sydney, sees extra benefits beyond national security for the US as it enforces the ITAR to regulate who can use American satellite technology.
“In the area of space technology, the US are still the superpower and they want to stay there, despite developments in China and Russia, so they’re very sensitive about their weapons technology going to other countries,” he tells The Saturday Paper. “In its simplest terms, space technology is regarded as akin to missile technology.”
While the ITAR has a benevolent motive in wanting to stop sensitive technology falling into the wrong hands, it also has the effect of enabling the US to retain a competitive advantage, he says.
“You won’t find that motivation explicitly in the official documents,” Freeland says.
However, he is less worried than Rice about ITAR’s reach.
“It’s quite common where people are dealing with national security issues to say: Sorry, but we get to choose the sort of people who work there because we don’t want them to have access,” he says.
Rice argues that the state department is dictating the private behaviour of individuals and companies outside the US, causing them to act unlawfully in their own countries.
Fines and jail terms
The state department can fine offending individuals and businesses up to $US1 million per violation for breaching ITAR requirements. It can ban companies from using American military exports and jail offenders for up to 10 years.
In a case that sent a message to universities, John Reece Roth, a former Tennessee professor of electrical engineering, was jailed for four years in 2009 for breaching the ITAR by providing information on drone technology to students from Iran and China.
Boeing was fined $US3.8 million in 2001, $US15 million in 2006 and $US3 million in 2008 for ITAR breaches and other companies have also been hit hard.
By comparison, breaches here of Australian anti-discrimination and equal opportunity law may lead to an apology or “small value financial compensation”, Australian defence industry lawyer Jane Elise Bates pointed out in the journal Security Challenges in 2012.
“From an economic perspective the balance is certainly in favour of continuing the status quo and seeking exemptions as required to permit the conduct of racial discrimination,” Bates wrote.
In the latest decision granting Thales Australia exemptions in November, VCAT member Anna Dea said the company’s work for the Australian Defence Force, including ship, aircraft, vehicle and munitions manufacture, generates more than $861 million in annual sales. It employs 871 people in Victoria, with an estimated $2 billion worth of projects lined up over the next eight to 10 years.
Dea listed the same reasons that have persuaded nearly every Australian decision-maker in her position for the past decade or so to grant exemptions, faced with the brutal reality of the US ITAR. The company’s work is important to Australia’s defence capability, the state economy and jobs that could otherwise go elsewhere, she said. She noted that no employees or union representatives made any submissions to the tribunal.
But it was not always so.
When Thales and ADI sought similar exemptions in the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia in 2005, the commissioner for equal opportunity, the WA Trades and Labour Council, the state’s Ethnic Communities Council and Western Australians for Racial Equality all objected.
The companies won a five-year exemption anyway.
As Australia negotiated a new defence treaty with the US in 2008, judges and decision-makers for a while bridled at having to bow to American law, after a parliamentary committee recommended the federal government seek exemptions from the ITAR.
In 2007, the then VCAT president, Justice Stuart Morris, voiced his concern about being asked by Boeing Australia Holdings to depart from local legislation to provide jobs.
“Such a departure is only sought because important aerospace technology is subject to an American law which places American security ahead of this human rights standard. One might ask: why should not the Americans give way?” he said.
“One suspects that the ITAR is misconceived … But then, I rather doubt that the United States government will back down from ITAR in the face of a decision of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.”
VCAT deputy president Cate McKenzie described the nationality-based prohibitions in the ITAR as a “blunt instrument” when she granted a partial exemption to BAE Systems Australia Limited in 2008.
“Assessment of individuals on a non-stereotyped basis, or training and education about the importance of the obligation of secrecy, would seem to me to be a better approach,” she said.
Little choice for legal bodies
At the end of 2008, the president of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, Douglas Savage, refused exemptions sought by the Boeing group. The companies’ opportunities should not be at the expense of employees or potential employees, said Savage, whose decision still stands.
He doubted that refugees who had risked their lives to flee nations whose regimes they opposed were a security concern. Any concern could equally apply to US or Australian citizens, he said.
Rice sees such opposition as having faded. In particular, although they have appeared in past hearings, he is disappointed at unions’ failure to take this on as a cause.
“They haven’t been very effective or strategic in their arguments,” he says.
Four years ago, Rice argued in The Canberra Law Review that courts and tribunals in reality “have had little real choice, in the face of employers’ (poorly substantiated) claims that without the exemption the defence contracts will be breached with serious consequences, including the loss of jobs.”
There have been at least 25 more decisions allowing exemptions since he wrote that. Thirteen were in New South Wales, where there are no public hearings and exemptions are gazetted by the attorney-general. Two were in the ACT, two in Victoria, six in South Australia and one in Western Australia.
“I’ve been waiting for one tribunal to break ranks,” says Rice. “It seems to me they’re spooked. They’re between a rock and a hard place. You have to have sympathy. This is a political issue. The tribunals are being asked to decide it and they shouldn’t be.”
However, tribunals should be more rigorous in making these self-interested businesses spell out the exact consequences if they complied with local human rights laws, Rice says.
The tough US laws are unpopular around the world, particularly with close allies such as Canada, and the Obama administration recently tweaked them. But as VCAT’s Anna Dea explained in her most recent Thales decision, “it remains the case that information about a workforce member’s nationality and national origin is still required”.
Freeland acknowledges the role of US domestic politics. “Americans are very good at protecting US interests. It’s what you pay your politicians for, in one sense,” he says.
“We may not like it, but if the American administration were not seen to protect US interests, it wouldn’t last long in government. Americans have a particularly patriotic or provincial view that the US is the centre of the universe.”
Canada, accustomed to its gigantic pushy neighbour, has over the past few years negotiated changes with the US State Department that allow companies to comply with the ITAR as well as Canadian privacy and human rights legislation.
The Canadian government acted following public controversies, including a ruckus when General Motors Canada sent immigrant workers home with pay after the company was fined $US20 million for breaching the ITAR when it manufactured certain military vehicles.
There is no such outcry here. Instead, Freeland says, Australian governments continue to tolerate the ITAR’s workings because of the trade-off of lucrative business investment.
Taiichi Ohno, creator of the Toyota Production System is credited, perhaps of dubious authenticity, with taking new graduates to the shopfloor and drawing a chalk circle on the floor. The graduate would be told to stand in the circle and to observe and note down what he saw. When Ohno returned he would check; if the graduate had not seen enough he would be asked to keep observing. Ohno was trying to imprint upon his future engineers that the only way to truly understand what happens on the shopfloor was to go there. It was here that value was added and here that waste could be observed.
Genchi Genbutsu is therefore a key approach in problem solving. If the problem exists on the shopfloor then it needs to be understood and solved at the shopfloor.
Genchi Genbutsu is also called the Gemba attitude. Gemba is the Japanese term for “the place” in this case ‘the place where it actually happens’. Since real value is created at the shopfloor in manufacturing, this is where management need to spend their time.
It is sometimes referred to as “Getcha boots on” (and go out and see what is happening) due to its similar cadence and meaning. It has been compared to Peters and Waterman’s idea of “Management By Wandering Around“.This concept quickly became so universal that new managers instinctively knew that they had to “walk around” to achieve high effectiveness levels. Whilst these ideas, with their associated lists of how-tos, are probably good ideas they may miss the essential nature of Genchi Genbutsu which is less to ‘visit’ and more to ‘know’ by being there. Toyota has high levels of management presence on the production line whose role it is to ‘know’ and to constantly improve.
“Gemba attitude” reflects the idea that whatever reports and measures and ideas are transmitted to management they are only an abstraction of what is actually going on in the gemba to create value. Metrics and reports will reflect the attitudes of the management questioner and the workplace responder as well as how the responder views the questioner. It also increases the chance that actual issues and unplanned events will be observed first hand and can be managed immediately; this includes issues that are not apparent to the gemba workforce.
The Japanese word “kaizen” simply means “good change“, with no inherent meaning of either “continuous” or “philosophy” in Japanese dictionaries or in everyday use. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word “improvement”. However, given the common practice in Japan of labelling industrial or business improvement techniques with the word “kaizen” (for lack of a specific Japanese word meaning “continuous improvement” or “philosophy of improvement”), especially in the case of oft-emulated practices spearheaded by Toyota, the word Kaizen in English is typically applied to measures for implementing continuous improvement, or even taken to mean a “Japanese philosophy” thereof. The discussion below focuses on such interpretations of the word, as frequently used in the context of modern management discussions.
Kaizen is a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work (“muri“), and teaches people how to perform experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. In all, the process suggests a humanized approach to workers and to increasing productivity: “The idea is to nurture the company’s people as much as it is to praise and encourage participation in kaizen activities.” Successful implementation requires “the participation of workers in the improvement.” People at all levels of an organization participate in kaizen, from the CEO down to janitorial staff, as well as external stakeholders when applicable. The format for kaizen can be individual, suggestion system, small group, or large group. At Toyota, it is usually a local improvement within a workstation or local area and involves a small group in improving their own work environment and productivity. This group is often guided through the kaizen process by a line supervisor; sometimes this is the line supervisor’s key role. Kaizen on a broad, cross-departmental scale in companies, generates total quality management, and frees human efforts through improving productivity using machines and computing power.
While kaizen (at Toyota) usually delivers small improvements, the culture of continual aligned small improvements and standardization yields large results in terms of overall improvement in productivity. This philosophy differs from the “command and control” improvement programs (e g Business Process Improvement) of the mid-twentieth century. Kaizen methodology includes making changes and monitoring results, then adjusting. Large-scale pre-planning and extensive project scheduling are replaced by smaller experiments, which can be rapidly adapted as new improvements are suggested.
In modern usage, it is designed to address a particular issue over the course of a week and is referred to as a “kaizen blitz” or “kaizen event”. These are limited in scope, and issues that arise from them are typically used in later blitzes. A person who makes a large contribution in the successful implementation of kaizen during kaizen events is awarded the title of “Zenkai“.
George Brown is a decorated soldier and health professional and 40 year veteran in the field of emergency nursing and paramedical practice, both military and civilian areas. He has senior management positions in the delivery of paramedical services. Opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the author and should not be construed as being those of any organization to which he may be connected.
He was born in the UK of Scottish ancestry from Aberdeen and a member of the Clan MacDougall. He is a member of the Macedonian community in Newcastle, and speaks fluent Macedonian. While this may seem a contradiction, it is his wife who is Macedonian, and as a result he embraced the Macedonian language and the Orthodox faith.
His interests include aviation and digital photography, and he always enjoys the opportunity to combine the two. Navigate to his Flickr site to see recent additions to his photo library.
Џорџ Браун е украсени војник и професионално здравствено лице и 40 годишен ветеран во областа на за итни случаи старечки и парамедицински пракса, двете воени и цивилни области. Тој има високи менаџерски позиции во испораката на парамедицински услуги. Мислењата изразени во овие колумни се исклучиво на авторот и не треба да се толкува како оние на било која организација тој може да биде поврзан.
Тој е роден во Велика Британија на шкотскиот потекло од Абердин и член на Kланот MacDougall. Тој е член на македонската заедница во Њукасл, и зборува течно македонски. Иако ова можеби изгледа контрадикција, тоа е неговата сопруга кој е македонски, и како резултат научил македонскиот јазик и ја примија православната вера.
Неговите интереси вклучуваат авијација и дигитална фотографија, и тој секогаш ужива во можност да се комбинираат двете. Отиди до неговиот Фликр сајт да видите последните дополнувања на неговата слика библиотека.