The absurd backdoor

China passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law on Sunday that requires technology firms to help decrypt information, but not install security “backdoors” as initially planned, and allows the military to venture overseas on counter-terror operations.

Counter-terrorism efforts are beginning to be infuriating. Most countries are passing laws against encryption and privacy that for lots of people are even more concerning that the terrorist attacks themselves.

China is the latest one to propose the integration of backdoors for government purposes on all kinds of electronic equipment, and that’s only another sign of defeat. Not for terrorists, of course: I assume their goal has never been the suppression of our privacy. Glenn Greenwald is on the spot on this issue:

This is a defeat for our society, and I really hope small and big technology companies do not play that game. Apple seems to lead that stance, something that could affect their current business in the asiatic giant, but that really honors them.

Source: China passes controversial counter-terrorism law

You will no longer buy a phone. You will lease it.

Samsung is planning to launch a program for leasing its Galaxy phone hardware in the U.S. market, similar to the one Apple announced in early September.

It was not difficult to see others were going to follow the new smartphone leasing trend. I see it coming for other makers as well. That will have a collateral effect: the annoyances that caused people to stay with their carriers will be now similar to the ones caused with smartphone makers.

Makers will make it unappealing to change to other phone brand. The dawn of a new price war arises. Smaller brands will try to convince with more attractive leasing plans, or with cheaper and cheaper devices.

Good for the consumer. Not that good for small brands.

Source: Following Apple’s Lead, Samsung Plans Its Own Phone Leasing Program, Cutting Out Carriers

Rice won’t save your wet phone. It won’t damage it either.

Fantastic piece from The Verge that analyses the myth behind the “rice treatment” to wet phones. Three lessons learned:

  1. Never, ever, try to power on the phone after it getting wet. Wait until it dries completely.
  2. The idea is to “expel fluids out” from the phone. Rice doesn’t help, but at least “hides” the phone from you, and makes you don’t have the temptation to power it. Not bad.
  3. Rice was used for photographers as a substitute to silica to keep exposed film dry.

And still, people will try to bring back their phones to life putting them in rice if they get wet. Let them eat cake. What matters is to leave them drying completely.

Source: Can rice actually save your wet phone? | The Verge

A new step towards the Embedded SIM

The newest iPhones are built to run on practically any network worldwide, and Apple is financing purchases. This means we’ll soon have the freedom to move between networks as we please.

Apple was the first to include its Apple SIM on their iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, and now it has done the same on the iPad Pro. I wonder how long will it take to bring that embedded SIMs to future iPhones.

Their new iPhone Upgrade Program is the other setp in that direction: no more phones attached to carrier contracts. You’ll be supposedly able to use whatever data/voice plan you want when you want it.

The technology is ready for that change. Mobile carriers, of course, know it. And they won’t concede defeat easily. But that’s a triumph for consumers, and a big simplification of the market. SIM production and distribution costs could be reduced to marginal numbers. eSIMs are probably inevitable.

Source: New iPhone Means We’ll Soon Escape the Captivity of Carriers

iPhone 6S/Plus will still start at 16GB, even if they now can record 4K video

Apple pricing strategy was disappointing last year: starting with a 16GB model allows them to 1) get higher profit margins and also 2) tempt/force people to avoid the 16GB and get the more expensive 64GB model.

The story is about to repeat itself next week: according to trusted sources, the new iPhones will also start with 16GB configuration, even with a camera that will reportedly be able to record 4K video.

Good luck storing that on your 16GB iPhone 6S, pal. Fortunately, we all have 5GB of free storage on iCloud. You can pay if you want more (20GB  for $0.99/month), so, basically, problem solved.

For Apple. Not for you.

Source: Apple Event: New Apple Watch bands, 16GB iPhones confirmed with 7000 series aluminum | 9to5Mac