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Apple’s officially denied a request it received Monday from the US Attorney General William Barr to “unlock” a pair of iPhones owned by the Pensacola naval air station shooter, rejecting the characterization that it’s failed to provide “substantive assistance” in the investigation.
As we reported yesterday, Justice Department officials said they need access to the shooter’s phones in order to view messages from encrypted apps such as Signal or WhatsApp. Investigators on the case want to determine whether the gunman had discussed his plans with others at the base and whether he was acting alone or with help.
“Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing,” according to a statement from the Cupertino tech giant given to Input late yesterday following an article in The New York Times. Apple also shared relevant data from the Pensacola shooter’s iCloud account with FBI agents on the Pensacola case.
Here’s Apple’s response to the request in full:
We were devastated to learn of the tragic terrorist attack on members of the US armed services at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida on December 6. We have the greatest respect for law enforcement and routinely work with police across the country on their investigations. When law enforcement requests our assistance, our teams work around the clock to provide them with the information we have.
We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation. Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing.
Within hours of the FBI’s first request on December 6, we produced a wide variety of information associated with the investigation. From December 7 through the 14th, we received six additional legal requests and in response provided information including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts.
We responded to each request promptly, often within hours, sharing information with FBI offices in Jacksonville, Pensacola and New York. The queries resulted in many gigabytes of information that we turned over to investigators. In every instance, we responded with all of the information that we had.
The FBI only notified us on January 6 that they needed additional assistance — a month after the attack occurred. Only then did we learn about the existence of a second iPhone associated with the investigation and the FBI’s inability to access either iPhone. It was not until January 8 that we received a subpoena for information related to the second iPhone, which we responded to within hours. Early outreach is critical to accessing information and finding additional options.
We are continuing to work with the FBI and our engineering teams recently had a call to provide additional technical assistance. Apple has great respect for the Bureau’s work and we will work tirelessly to help them investigate this tragic attack on our nation.
We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys. Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. Today, law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users’ data.
Apple and other technology companies have maintained a tough stance on encryption, saying encryption on smartphones is an important safeguard that protects millions of consumers against hackers and other criminals. While Apple regularly agrees to legitimate law enforcement requests, it’s unable to break the iPhone’s hardware and software encryption without writing a customized version of the iOS operating system that would lack security protections because doing that would put everyone at risk of privacy violations.
“Unfortunately, the FBI has been unable to access the contents of the phones,” continues the letter seeking the tech giant’s assistance. The FBI even asked private technology experts if they could help agents crack the phones, but “none of those reachouts has shown us a path forward,” according to the Bureau’s general counsel Dana Boente.
Most people don’t understand anything at all about encryption (which is to be expected), and reasonably assume that surely Apple can ‘get into’ any device that it makes. It used to be that way, in fact, in the early years of iPhones — and it was a disaster for security — a thief who had your iPhone also had access to whatever data was on your iPhone.
It’s fine that most people don’t understand anything about encryption, but experts at the FBI surely do, and my suspicion all along with the San Bernardino case was that the FBI was trying to turn the public’s ignorance of encryption — both how it works and how owning truly encrypted devices benefits them, even if they don’t know it — against Apple.
In December 2023, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing that was basically supposed to scare people into supporting software backdoors, with New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance saying, “In fact, we were never able to view the contents of his phone because of this gift to sex traffickers that came, not from God, but from Apple.”
Following Apple’s fight in 2023 with the FBI, which was pressuring the company into providing an iOS backdoor so that investigators could break into the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter, I’ve felt the government would try to turn public sentiment against strong encryption all over again, and this time around the boogeyman of choice seems to be “terrorism”.
Could this latest case revive the fight between the federal government and Big Tech over encryption? Grab your popcorn as the next round of FBI vs. iPhone encryption unfolds.
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The Apple Developer Program allows individuals and businesses to create innovative apps for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Previously, users paid a fee to join, but after WWDC23, Apple made Beta versions free for all users with compatible devices.
So, whether you want a refund for your membership fees or believe the program isn’t right for you, this article provides a step-by-step guide to help you request a refund for Apple Developer Program fees.
What is the Apple Developer Program?
The Apple Developer Program is a toolkit that helps people worldwide create and improve apps for Apple devices. Even if you don’t know how to code, you can still be a valuable part of the program as a tester.
When you join the program, you get access to the newest software versions of Apple before their public release! As a tester, you can try those features and let Apple know if you find any problems. Your feedback is important because it helps Apple improve before the official stable release.
Besides, Apple holds a special annual event called the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). Developers from all over the world are invited to join and contribute to developing new software. It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of the latest creations from Apple.What’s the annual fee for Apple Developer Program?
The Apple Developer Program currently offers two membership options. To join these programs, you need to pay an annual fee, which is as follows.
Apple Developer Program: $99
Apple Developer Enterprise Program: $299
However, there is also a way to access the Apple Developer Program without paying any fees. Apple generously provides free access to certain government entities, educational institutions, and NGOs. Additionally, Apple recently decided to waive the fees required for downloading beta software.
How to get a refund for your Apple Developer Program fees
Navigate to the Contact Us page.
You will now receive a Case ID, and a member of Apple Support will contact you within 2-3 business days to provide a final decision on your refund request.
When I spoke with Apple Support, I specifically mentioned requesting a refund for my Apple Developer Program membership.
I explained that I only needed it for beta testing operating systems, especially since it’s now free with Apple ID Sign-in. The support team escalated my case, and my refund was processed by the end of the day.
Tips for requesting a refund of Developer Account fees
Here are some tips I’d suggest if you plan to request a refund for your Apple Developer Account.
Be clear and briefly explain the reasons behind your refund request.
Express your politeness and respect towards the Apple Support representative.
Remember to include any pertinent documents, such as your receipt for the Apple Developer Program.
Ensure you request a refund within 90 days of purchasing your Apple Developer Account.
If you request a refund because you could not publish an app, include information about the app and why it was rejected.
Be patient and understanding. It may take some time for Apple to process your refund request.FAQs
Bhaskar is a member of the iGB family and enjoys experimenting with words and rhythms. He also has a knack for web and app development. If not writing, you may find him on strings or engaging in sports. And by evening, his quotes will be appearing on your Instagram feeds.
Apple patents could give next iPhones a superior camera
Almost all smartphones include a single image sensor that filters out light into the three basic color components of red, green, and blue, in varying proportions (25% for red, 50% for green, and 25% for blue). The camera software then blends these together to form a single image. Given the reduction in information, the actual image is considerably of lower quality. This filtering is simply a compromise because of the smaller amount of available space you can cram a sensor into when it comes to smartphones versus digital cameras.
Apple’s solution is to employ a light filter cube and three sensors to fit inside that same thin iPhone body. Instead of filtering the light, the cube will split light into its three component colors, which are then redirected through each face of the cube, each to an image sensor designed specifically to handle that particular color. Again, camera software will composite the image from this but it will instead be working on 100% color information, which will result in overall better image quality. This alone is probably already impressive and ingenious, but Apple isn’t stopping there. In fact, this light splitting cube is only the 2nd part of Apple’s camera patent invention.
The other part has to do with zooming lenses and image stability. Again, most smartphones do not have any form of actual zooming, content with relying on digital zooming, because of the amount of space that would be needed to incorporate the parts inside a smartphone. Just look at how thick even the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom is, which was built just for the purpose of giving a smartphone some digital camera prowess. And in terms of OIS or optical image stabilization, the iPhone 6 Plus already has one, but Apple’s patent intends to improve on it by using a mirror that has actuators that move in opposition to the shaking movement when held in a hand.
As much as these ideas are noteworthy in themselves already, equally interesting is how Apple intends on fitting them all inside an iPhone. Apple is quite stubborn at keeping its iPhones at a certain size, even if it had finally conceded when it came to the size of the screen. In order to keep things still thin while fitting all those components, Apple’s patent is calling for a different camera component design, one that extends sideways across the width of the iPhone and shaped more like a periscope. It is, indeed, a creative way of solving one of the most difficult puzzles when it came to smartphone cameras.
Now the question becomes whether Apple will implement this soon. As a patent, there is no assurance that it will ever see the light of day in an actual device. But given the ingenuity and benefits that these would bring, it’s hard not to see Apple trying to make it a reality in a future iPhone generation.
SOURCE: Forbes (1), (2)
While focus groups often reinforce assumptions, rapid testing is able to illustrate whether any assumptions about a product, audience, and go-to-market strategy are accurate.
It’s time to face the facts: focus groups aren’t cutting it anymore. These relics date back to 1937 when Princeton University researchers investigated what sort of messaging sent over radio airwaves would drum up the most support for the World War II effort.
Focus groups might have been the most viable option at the time, but there’s no reason researchers should continue to spend $2.2 billion worldwide on the questionable insights offered by modern focus groups. Participants might provide a slew of opinions about a product, but that feedback doesn’t predict whether people will actually buy it.
With so many companies mistakenly placing trust in focus groups, it’s no wonder Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen reports that 95% of the 30,000 new products created every year ultimately fail.
Download our Individual Member Resource – Testing market demand for a new business idea or product
Use this guide to gauge product/market fit, develop more commercially viable ideas, and avoid significant investments in ideas that are unlikely to give a profitable return.
Access the Testing market demand for a new business idea or productThe consequences of inaccurate assumptions
All the incredibly meaningful work that goes into the design and prototyping processes gives product leaders and marketers a false sense of confidence and security. They feel like they’ve done ample research, collected more than enough data, and modeled that data to build accurate predictive forecasts that they can rely on. In reality, they’re basing critical decisions on misleading assumptions.
In my experience, the most common incorrect assumptions are often based on the recommendations of clients. For example, a company that sold loyalty software through payment providers had multiple clients ask for an app that customers could use to store different loyalty cards. By all accounts, the app solved real-world problems — customers have to carry an excessive number of loyalty cards that are easily lost and forgotten, and those cards bog down an otherwise smooth checkout process.
When the company finally caved to client demand and created the software, it was a massive flop. Clients didn’t purchase it, and customers didn’t download the accompanying app. The moral of the story? The reason for creating a product isn’t necessarily the reason people will buy or use it.
All companies make assumptions, from small startups to large organizations with complex innovation pipelines. While focus groups often reinforce these assumptions, rapid testing is able to illustrate whether any assumptions about a product, audience, and go-to-market strategy are accurate.Better insights through rapid testing
For market validation, it’s important to call out assumptions and design controlled, real-world tests to see if they hold true. Focus groups and other market research can’t provide those nimble, actionable insights.
This is where rapid testing shines. Through this method, you’ll test highly targeted tactics, messages, and landing experiences against each other in real-time with real consumers. Use small spend to complete specific tests against your assumptions. The results will show you whether your target audience will purchase your product at a price that produces a profit. Let those tests run for a few weeks, and then make adjustments to your campaign as necessary.
Rapid testing can validate all types of physical, digital, software, and service products for both B2B and B2C sales. For example, when we worked with a company launching a new outdoor game targeted at college students, our research defied our original assumptions. We conducted rapid testing to find the actual audience for the game. We found that parents — not students — were most likely to purchase the game.
Once we identified the real customer, we researched when and why they bought it, the highest converting channels, and the most effective messaging. We then used these insights to help the company create a successful product launch. Had the manufacturer continued with its original, seemingly safe assumptions, the release of the game could have been a failure.Rapid testing in action
Rapid testing can answer all kinds of questions that focus groups gloss over, but here are four of the most important insights digital marketers can glean from the process:1. Customer validation
With rapid testing, you can set different targets to validate who buys as well as their reasons for purchasing. In almost every test we’ve run, a different or unexpected audience emerges. Importantly, the “why” behind the purchase can change your messaging, channels, and volume projections.2. Go-to-market channels
The easiest channel to identify and test is the one where you see people buying, but knowing that a channel drives purchases doesn’t illustrate the why. Why did these individuals change their routine — a possibly stop using a competitor’s product — and start addressing their problems with yours?
It’s likely that you’re making assumptions based on the channel itself. Instead, start with the customers themselves and backtrack along their journey to conversion. When you know why customers are behaving in a certain way, you can take those insights and apply them to many more channels than just your current sales leader.3. Value proposition messaging
You’ve probably put a ton of time and energy into ensuring that your product solves a critical problem for your target audience, but do you know which message ultimately connects at a level that drives sales?
In focus groups, people generally understood the value proposition and were eager to buy. In a different context, your messaging might not motivate people to take action. Test messaging outside focus groups in real-world scenarios to gain important insights that will drive sales in any number of channels.4. Revenue projections
You probably can’t assign resources to product development without revenue projections, but those projections should be updated once you gain insights about your customers and the most effective channels of communication.
Use the data you collect against your forecast to influence others in your company. Confidently access the funding you need and set realistic and motivating goals for sales and marketing teams based on facts instead of assumptions.Final thoughts
Assumptions often feel like accurate assessments, which is why they plague the product development cycles of companies around the world. When a new product is proposed and teams are excited about the possibilities, questioning assumptions can feel like raining on a parade. Still, the additional weeks it takes to conduct your due diligence can make all the difference between a failed launch and a stunning success. Look before you leap with rapid testing.
Apple iPad on sale April 3rd in US; pre-orders March 12th
Apple have announced that the iPad will go on sale in the US come April 3rd, with preorders kicking off on March 12th. The WiFi-only models will be priced at $499 for the 16GB iPad, $599 for the 32GB iPad and $699 for the 64GB iPad. As of late-April, the 3G version of the tablet will go on sale, priced at $629, $729 and $829 respectively for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models.
As for countries outside of the US, all iPad models will go on sale in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April; Apple are yet to announce a specific date. All 3G models will be unlocked, though you’ll need a scaled-down micro-SIM in order to use the modem; in the US, AT&T will be offering low-cost, contract-free data plans.
Like the iPhone and the iPod touch, the iPad runs the iPhone OS and has full access to the Apple App Store. More details on the iPad here in our first-impressions report, and over at Everything iPad.
Apple iPad hands-on:
iPad Available in US on April 3
Pre-Order on March 12
CUPERTINO, Calif., March 5 — Apple® today announced that its magical and revolutionary iPad will be available in the US on Saturday, April 3, for Wi-Fi models and in late April for Wi-Fi + 3G models. In addition, all models of iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April.
“iPad is something completely new,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re excited for customers to get their hands on this magical and revolutionary product and connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”
Starting at just $499, iPad lets users browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more. iPad is just 0.5 inches thick and weighs just 1.5 pounds-thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook-and delivers battery life of up to 10 hours.*
iPad’s revolutionary Multi-Touch™ interface makes surfing the web an entirely new experience, dramatically more interactive and intimate than on a computer. You can read and send email on iPad’s large screen and almost full-size “soft” keyboard or import photos from a Mac®, PC or digital camera, see them organized as albums, and enjoy and share them using iPad’s elegant slideshows. iPad makes it easy to watch movies, TV shows and YouTube, all in HD, or flip through the pages of an ebook you downloaded from Apple’s new iBookstore while listening to your music collection.
The new iBooks app for iPad includes Apple’s new iBookstore, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile product. The iBookstore will feature books from the New York Times Best Seller list from both major and independent publishers, including Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster.
The iTunes® Store gives iPad users access to the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 12 million songs, over 55,000 TV episodes and over 8,500 films including over 2,500 in stunning high definition. All the apps and content you download on iPad from the App Store, iTunes Store and iBookstore will be automatically synced to your iTunes library the next time you connect with your computer.
Pricing & Availability
iPad will be available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models in late April in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. International pricing will be announced in April. iPad will ship in additional countries later this year.
The iBooks app for iPad including Apple’s iBookstore will be available as a free download from the App Store in the US on April 3, with additional countries added later this year.
*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
Find out how to enable and use the Auto Unlock feature that automatically unlocks your Mac when wearing your Apple Watch. You can also use your Apple Watch to quickly authenticate and approve requests that would otherwise require you to type your Mac’s password.
With the Auto Unlock Continuity feature, logging into your Mac is as easy as wearing an Apple Watch on your wrist, no password typing required. Auto Unlock uses Bluetooth proximity information to determine when the watch you’re wearing and your Mac are at arm’s length.
Aside from convenience, this feature eliminates the need to type your password manually. This ensures no one can see you entering your Mac password in public places, thus helping you secure your computer.
In this step-by-step tutorial, we will take you through the process of setting up and using Apple Watch Auto Unlock on your Mac.
Auto Unlock works on all Apple Watch models running watchOS 3 and later and most 2013 and later Macs running macOS Sierra or later. Note that if you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer, then your Mac must be on macOS High Sierra and later.
In order to use Auto Unlock to approve Mac’s password requests, your Apple Watch must be on watchOS 6 or later, and your Mac must be running macOS Catalina or later.
Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your Mac and Apple Watch.
Make sure your Mac and Apple Watch are signed in using the same Apple ID.
Make sure a passcode is set on your Apple Watch.
Set up Apple Watch Auto Unlock on Mac
Open System Settings on your Mac running macOS Ventura or later.
Turn on the switch next to your Apple Watch’s name.
It may take a few seconds to sync, and then you’re all set!On macOS Monterey or earlier
Go in the General section and check the box for ‘Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac‘ or ‘Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.’
How to Auto Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch
Now that you have set up the Auto Unlock feature, it’s time to use it.
1) Make sure you’re wearing your Apple Watch and it’s unlocked. If it isn’t unlocked, you will see a tiny padlock icon on the top of the screen. In this case, press the Digital Crown and enter your watch password to unlock it.
3) Now, for the purpose of this test, walk away from your Mac.
4) Next, walk near your Mac.
5) Hit any key on the keyboard to wake your Mac.
6) The moment your Mac wakes up, you will feel a vibration on your wrist confirming your Mac was auto-unlocked using your Apple Watch. It will say, “Your Mac name: Unlocked by this Apple Watch.”
Important: Auto Unlock just unlocks your Mac. It cannot be used to automatically lock your Mac when you step away.
Tip: Have two or more Macs? You can unlock all of them with the same Apple Watch. I have a MacBook Pro and a Mac mini. I turned on the Auto Unlock feature on both.Important: Is your Mac asking you to type its password?
Auto Unlock with Apple Watch will not work, and you must enter your Mac’s password in these situations:
You just restarted your Mac.
You shut it down and powered it on.
You logged out of a user account on Mac.
In any of these situations, simply type your Mac’s password once, and then Auto Unlock will start working. This is similar to how Face ID or Touch ID start working only after you have entered your iPhone’s passcode once after restarting it.
How to approve Mac’s password requests with Apple Watch
You may have noticed that your Mac asks you to enter the admin password when you try to change some settings in System Settings or System Preferences. Similarly, when you want to see your iCloud Keychain passwords in Safari, approve app installation, or open a locked note, your Mac asks for your system password.
In most of these situations, you can use your Apple Watch to approve these requests without having to type your Mac’s admin password:
1) Open System Settings on your Mac and go to Lock Screen.
2) Turn on the switch next to Show message when locked.
3) Your Mac will immediately ask you to enter the password. At the same time, you will also feel an alert on your Apple Watch.
4) Instead of typing your Mac’s password manually, just look at your Apple Watch, and double-press the side button to authenticate. The popup on your Mac will vanish as your Apple Watch has successfully approved the request to enter the admin password.
This was just one example. Similarly, you can use Apple Watch to authenticate elsewhere, like accessing Safari passwords, iCloud Keychain in System Settings, etc.
In the screenshots below, you can see different icons on the Mac’s screen, signifying where the authentication request will be approved.Important: It won’t work everywhere
You can’t approve Mac’s admin password everywhere in System Settings. For example, when you want to add an additional fingerprint to your Mac, and it asks you to enter the password, then you must use Touch ID or type the password.
Similarly, when you try to make changes to sensitive settings like FileVault, you will be asked to type your Mac’s password.
Besides that, I couldn’t unlock locked notes with my Apple Watch, but Apple Support says you should be able to.
Fix Apple Watch Auto Unlock not working on Mac
Follow these solutions if you cannot unlock your Mac or approve password requests with your Apple Watch:
Take your wrist very close to your Mac. And don’t forget to wake your Mac by pressing any key on its keyboard.
Turn off the Auto Unlock feature from System Settings (steps above), restart your Mac, and turn Auto Unlock back on.
Quit and reopen the app (like System Settings, Safari, Notes, etc.) where you’re trying to use the approve with Apple Watch feature.
Shut down your Mac, wait a minute, and then turn it back on.
Update your Apple Watch and your Mac to the latest version of the operating system available.
If your Apple Watch doesn’t show up as a trusted device on the Apple ID webpage, Auto Unlock won’t work. If that’s the case, unpair the watch from your iPhone, then pair it again to resolve this issue.Wireless connection too weak for Apple Watch to unlock this Mac
Sometimes, you may see a message on your Mac’s Lock Screen that says, “Wireless connection too weak for Apple Watch to unlock this Mac.” In this case, just move your wrist very close to your Mac, and it should work.
You can also press the esc key to turn off the Mac’s screen, and then wake it again by pressing any key. After this, your Mac should unlock automatically with your Apple Watch.
Touch ID vs. Apple Watch Auto Unlock
The Auto Unlock feature is terrific if you have an old Mac without Touch ID. However, if your MacBook has Touch ID or, like me, if you use Apple’s Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, you may find Touch ID to be more reliable and consistent than Apple Watch Auto Unlock.
But still, Auto Unlock is proof of how well various Apple devices work with one another, and you should give it a try. You may just fall in love with the convenience!
On the same note: How to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch
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