AWT News Update: December 23, 2016

Steve discovers that the "Brazilian Death Flu" is actually a mild case of pneumonia, so hopefully he'll be on the mend now that he's on medication. In this last work day before the Christmas holiday (and Hanukkah begins on the 25th as well), we have just a few items to tide you over until Monday:

  • Ever wondered what that Israeli smartphone hacking tool can do other than unlock a locked iPhone? ZDNet got some leaked documents, and it's pretty impressive software...with limitations
  • Some lucky folks in the UK are receiving the LG UltraFine 5K Displays just in time for the holidays
  • A questionable rumor says that low yields of a chip that may or may not be used in the upcoming new iPads might delay a March product rollout

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for December 23, 2016. It’s official; the Brazilian Death Flu actually gave me pneumonia, so I’m now on some good drugs to hopefully turn this thing around.

Israeli developer Cellebrite Mobile Synchronization is the company that most governments and law enforcement firms trust to extract data from smartphones, then transfer it to other devices and analyze it. ZDNet got ahold of some leaked documents that show how much data Cellebrite’s forensic tool UFED can get from iPhones. During a single session, investigators were able to grab messages, phone calls, voicemails, images and more from an iPhone 5 — including some deleted content. The phone number, registered Apple ID, iPhone IMEI number, joined Wi-Fi networks list, database files, call logs, user accounts in apps, music files, notes, calendars and contacts, and geolocation info from photos were extractable, as well as web bookmarks and cookies. Now the interesting news is that the FBI noted that Cellebrite’s tools don’t work on the iPhone 5s and newer phones, possibly due to the Secure Enclave crypto-engine built into those phones. Cellebrite did note in April of 2016 that it might be able to bypass iPhone 6 passcode protection, but never went into any details. The really good news is that if you’re not a criminal or terrorist, there’s no way that this tool will ever be put to use on your iPhone as the company charged the FBI a reported $1.3 million for the tool. Chances are good they won’t want to waste those tax dollars on looking into your mundane life.

While Apple re-opened orders for the LG UltraFine 5K Displays earlier this week, there were a few people who had ordered the display in late November when Apple inadvertently started accepting orders. Well, those lucky folks are having a wonderful Christmas, as MacRumors is reporting that some of its forum members in the UK have actually received the ultra-nice displays that weren’t supposed to be there until next week. Initial reports show that the display is incredible, featuring a peak brightness of 500 nits, a 60Hz refresh rate, 217 pixels per inch of resolution, and a wide DCI-P3 color gamut. With an adjustable stand, built-in camera, microphone, stereo speakers, and three downstream USB-C ports, the LG UltraFine 5K is definitely a bargain right now as it can be purchased from Apple for $974. The price will go up to $1,299.95 on March 31, so order one today.

We’ll end the week with a rumor. We don’t even know for sure that Apple will be launching new iPads in March — that in itself is a rumor — but today a report claimed that Apple chip supplier TSMC isn’t getting the yield rates it needs for its new 10-nanometer manufacturing process. That process is expected to be used with the A10X processors for new iPads, and if the yields are low, Apple wouldn’t be able to build up inventories of the new devices for a product launch. Now the report could be totally bogus, as it comes from DigiTimes, a publication with a really mixed track record on Apple rumors. While moving to a 10-nanometer process would make the chip more energy efficient, most existing iPads using the A9 and A9X chips use a 16-nanometer process. The word on the street is that regardless of what chip is used inside the new iPads, there will be three models — a 9.7-inch model using the A9X, and 10.5- and 12.9 inch models using the A10X.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back on Monday afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update. On behalf of my other team members Dennis Sellers and Marty Edwards, I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.