I prodotti Apple costano sempre di più. E Apple guadagna sempre di più.

Il prezzo dei prodotti Apple sta crescendo con un rateo che supera quello dell’inflazione USA. 

Il prezzo di alcuni modelli di iPhone supera i 1000$. 

Eppure, rallentare la corsa o diminuire i prezzi non gioverebbe a nessuno.

Most technology products are commodities that go down in price over time. Apple has worked very hard not to become a commodity.[Link]

La storia di Bloomberg sull’hacking cinese continua a non convincere

Nelle settimane passate non è saltata fuori una prova che sia una a sostegno della loro inchiesta. Nel frattempo, dopo i comunicati stampa che negavano dettagliatamente le accuse, Apple e Amazon hanno pubblicamente chiesto a Bloomberg di rimangiarsi l’articolo.

“There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. “They need to do the right thing and retract it.”

This is an extraordinary statement from Cook and Apple. The company has never previously publicly (though it may have done so privately) called for the retraction of a news story — even in cases where the stories have had major errors or were demonstratively false, such as a This American Life episode that was shown to be fabricated. [link]

Il capo del servizio web di Amazon, AWS, appoggia la posizione di Cook e via Twitter sostiene che

[Tim Cook] is right. Bloomberg story is wrong about Amazon, too. They offered no proof, story kept changing, and showed no interest in our answers unless we could validate their theories. Reporters got played or took liberties. Bloomberg should retract. [link]

Una cosa così non l’avevo ancora mai vista. Sul Washington Post un bell’articolo chiude così:

Bloomberg, on the other hand, gives readers virtually no road map for reproducing its scoop, which helps to explain why competitors have whiffed in their efforts to corroborate it. The relentlessness of the denials and doubts from companies and government officials obligate Bloomberg to add the sort of proof that will make believers of its skeptics. Assign more reporters to the story, re-interview sources, ask for photos and emails. Should it fail in this effort, it’ll need to retract the entire thing.

There’s just too much at stake here. Supermicro’s stock, for starters, took an Acapulco dive following publication of the Bloomberg investigation. It hasn’t much recovered, denials notwithstanding. The company tells the Erik Wemple Blog that it “only became aware of the specifics of these allegations when the article was published.”

So, Bloomberg has some options, none of which is standing pat and hoping that the next Trump scandal distracts the body politic. Your move, Bloomberg. [link]

Un punto (temporaneo) sulla questione dell’hacking cinese

Probabilmente l’avrete letto in giro, negli ultimi giorni: Bloomberg è venuta fuori con uno scoop notevolissimo, se confermato: un’operazione di hacking hardware condotta dall’intelligence cinese ai danni delle aziende di informatica di tutto il mondo, in particolare Apple e Amazon.

È abbastanza credibile, in realtà: visto il tipo di regime, obbligare le aziende che producono hardware ad accettare intrusioni simili (attraverso corruzione o minacce, è poco importante) è relativamente facile.

Bloomberg ha un sacco di fonti, ma tutte anonime: il problema è che le aziende principali, Apple e Amazon, hanno negato dettagliatamente le accuse. Addirittura il Dipartimento della sicurezza interna degli Stati Uniti ha dato ragione alle aziende in questione, assieme al Dipartimento della sicurezza interna del Regno Unito.

Il comunicato di Apple è poi incredibile. Di solito è un’azienda misurata, qui ha lasciato proprio la briglia sciolta:

The October 8, 2018 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek incorrectly reports that Apple found “malicious chips” in servers on its network in 2015. As Apple has repeatedly explained to Bloomberg reporters and editors over the past 12 months, there is no truth to these claims. [link]

Anche l’ultimo avvocato dell’azienda si è espresso in merito, in maniera piuttosto chiara e tirando in ballo l’FBI:

“I got on the phone with him personally and said, ‘Do you know anything about this?,” Sewell said of his conversation with Baker. “He said, ‘I’ve never heard of this, but give me 24 hours to make sure.’ He called me back 24 hours later and said ‘Nobody here knows what this story is about.’” [link]

Amazon non è da meno: il suo comunicato è firmato dal suo dirigente a capo della sicurezza informatica: una mossa che fai quando sei sicuro di non rimetterci la faccia:

At no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems. Nor have we engaged in an investigation with the government. [link]

Dal momento che la storia è verosimile, e che sicuramente ci sono stati tentativi simili, non mi sento di tacciarla del tutto di bufala: ma il fatto che le due grandi aziende coinvolte nel pezzo sono anche le due aziende che hanno superato il trilione di dollari di valore di mercato, la questione puzza.

(Il valore di mercato è probabilmente una delle cose che mi interessa di meno, di un’azienda. Ma sicuramente c’è gente, in giro, che può ricavare dei vantaggi – e manco pochi – a manipolare le informazioni su di loro.)

Facebook ha condiviso dati con 61 aziende

Già il mese scorso Facebook aveva ammesso di aver condiviso in maniera più o meno diretta di aver condiviso i dati relativi agli utenti con più di sessanta aziende fra cui Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify, Samsung e BlackBerry.

Questi ed altri dettagli sono contenuti in un documento di 748 pagine risalente a venerdì scorso e indirizzato al Congresso USA.

These integrations were reviewed by Facebook, which had to
approve implementations of the APIs. Typically, these apps were reviewed and approved by
members of our partnerships and engineering teams.

Planet of the Apps

Planet of the Apps

What the fuck?

Executive producers will.i.am, Ben Silverman, and Howard Owens are teaming up for an unscripted series about the world of apps and the talented people that drive its innovation. They’re looking for developers with the vision to shape the future, solve real problems, and inspire change within our daily lives. “We can really tell their stories as we explore how apps are developed and created and incubated,” says Silverman.

I got hacked mid-air while writing an Apple-FBI story

I got hacked mid-air while writing an Apple-FBI story

This is so fucking scary.

“I don’t really need to worry about online privacy,” I used to think. “I’ve got nothing to hide. And who would want to know what I’m up to, anyway?”

Sure, I’m a journalist, but I’m not an investigative reporter, not a political radical, not of much interest to anyone, really.

That was last week, when the standoff between the FBI and Apple seemed much more about principle than practice to me. That’s when I thought I’d write a column on whether this legal fight matters to regular folk — people like my mother, a retired social worker; my best friend, who works in retail; or even my 20-year-old niece in college. That was before I found out — in a chillingly personal way — just why it does matter. To all of us.

A County Worker May Have Wrecked Law Enforcements’ Chance to Extract Data from San Bernardino iPhone

A County Worker May Have Wrecked Law Enforcements’ Chance to Extract Data from San Bernardino iPhone

A San Bernardino county worker may be responsible for a contentious battle now playing out between Apple and the government over data on an iPhone that belonged to suspected San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.
(…)
The government touched on this detail in a motion it filed with the court today but placed it only in a lengthy footnote at the bottom of one page. The government also didn’t acknowledge in the footnote that this was likely the best chance it had of retrieving the data it wanted from the phone.

«We fucked this up.»
«And now?»
«Now we force Apple to crack its phone and if they refuse we’ll say it’s a marketing stunt!»
«Sounds good!»

It’s not about an iPhone

Tim_Cook_WWDC_2012

Probably Tim Cook’s and Apple’s move against court orders and FBI pressures will go on for quite some time. I have no idea who will win (if anyone will win at all), but I believe that Cook chose the right battle to fight. This is no ‘isolated case’, this is not about that one iPhone 5C. And I too, among others, think that FBI is taking advantage of the particular situation (an awful crime committed by a mass shooter, and the need to find out the most information possible) to create a precedent. Once they force Apple to build a modified iOS version that can break into that iPhone 5C, there’s no way to guarantee us that they won’t come after some other smartphone maker. If there’s something that the NSA-Snowden revelations should have taught us, it’s that those in charge are indeed trying to keep the Western World at peace, but they won’t respect fundamental rights such as privacy or security, in this peace-keeping quest.

The point is: even if we want to believe FBI is in good faith (and in a way they are, because if in that iPhone there are information about the shooter’s plan or activities, they should be retrieved), they cannot be trusted. In the last few decades, political organizations or even underground branches of government or authorities have misused their duties and faculties, to the detriment of the citizens. In Italy this is acknowledged: for many years, there was an enclave that pressured our legitimate representatives and abused their powers to protect their own power and position, with an awful lot of means. Imagine if they can also pry on our phones.

Smartphones should be more secure, and as many have already said, they should be inaccessible for everyone but their owner. There’s no magical security unicorn, no magic security feature that can be capitalized on by the good guys only. And even if we say that the FBI are the good guy, what about other governments in the world? More so: if our phones have backdoors and other weak security systems in place, terrorists around the world will use some kind of security means and we’re back to square one.

Tim Cook chose the right path, although the most dangerous, politically speaking. The EEF, WhatsApp, and to a certain extent Google and Microsoft stand with Apple: I’m waiting for all the other internet companies to stand up as well.

(And for those of you who think that this is a commercial stunt: yes, speak loudly about security, privacy and protection of one’s own clients is surely good business, but it can alienate a good chunk of user. Probably it will. Let’s see.)