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Spotlight on security: iPhone X introduction – job well done?

Did you watch the Apple event? The first ever announcement in the Steve Jobs Theater showed that they miss Steve Jobs. I remember Steve Jobs introducing the NeXTcube. That was a jaw dropping event. The NeXTcube had display depth while the rest of the world used monochrome. It marked the birth of the dock. Combining an application launcher, desktop explorer, and task manager into one single application. So simple straightforward, yet so brilliant and beautiful.

The unforgettable NeXTcube introduction was literary art for geeks. The cube played a duet with a violinist from the San Francisco Symphony. A feat in the mid-eighties, but a near miracle when combining it with other complex tasks. Like navigating through Shakespeare’s plays and sending and receiving emails.

Compare this with the embarrassing demo fail of Face ID and the lengthy introduction of the new Apple Head Quarter. Since when are bricks more interesting than clicks? I bought a Volvo because it has many active security features. Not because the Swedes who build the Volvo, open a new head office. This comparison brings me back on topic: security.

The new iPhones have two interesting new security features. Facial recognition (FaceID) replaces fingerprint recognition (TouchID) on flagship smartphones. Enough has been said about the FaceID not recognizing Craig Federighi. Another less discussed feature is the improved SOS-call feature. It is triggered by repeatedly (5 times) pressing the power button. A preset personal or national (e.g. 911) alarm number will be called. Also, TouchID and/or FaceID will be disabled, so anyone knowing the passcode can use the phone in case of emergency.

Apple’s iOS is based on the NeXTstep operating system. Together with Apple’s closed shop, still gives iOS a security edge. iOS by itself is probably safer than Linux, Android and Windows. Android and Windows are making up ground and have the advantage of third party security. When the OS itself becomes safer, third party software has to innovate to keep their added value. The hype on using Artificial Intelligence is an example of this innovation push.

Luckily for Mac users many of those vendors also offer antivirus solutions for Apple devices. Read our report on Mac security software. Unluckily for Apple, the footsteps of Steve Jobs are huge and very hard to fill in. At AV-Comparatives we have not forgotten this inspiring innovator.