Apple Suspects Hardware Espionage

From 9to5Mac:

At least part of the driver for this is to ensure that the servers are secure. Apple has long suspected that servers it ordered from the traditional supply chain were intercepted during shipping, with additional chips and firmware added to them by unknown third parties in order to make them vulnerable to infiltration, according to a person familiar with the matter. At one point, Apple even assigned people to take photographs of motherboards and annotate the function of each chip, explaining why it was supposed to be there. Building its own servers with motherboards it designed would be the most surefire way for Apple to prevent unauthorized snooping via extra chips.

I can’t say this is terribly surprising. There’s been reports of this sort of thing happening to Cisco hardware among others.

Apple Shuts Down Kickstarter Project

It’s a shame Apple killed this Kickstarter project to build a portable charger. These kinds of innovative projects can do wonders of the ecosystem of a product like the iPhone/iPad ecosystem.

That said, I’m not sure I totally get the project’s logic. Why not just make it USB and let a user provide their own Lighting cable. On top of being a legal workaround it actually can make the product more attractive by being compatible with anything that can charge over USB. In my opinion it’s actually a superior design. I prefer USB devices over Lighting or Apple 30 pin since it’s easier to share.

Google To Release iOS Maps

It sounds like it’s going to become a reality in a few hours: Google Maps for iOS 6.

My experience so far with Apple maps hasn’t been terrible. Data quality issues never actually affected me. I have missed the lack of public transit. That is the primary reason I plan to switch over. Public transit integration is critical in NYC.

I’m hoping it’s just a refreshed UI of what was in iOS 5 with as lean of a UI or leaner.

Apple Brings Some Manufacturing Back To USA

The big news today is Apple is making some Macs in the USA. This isn’t terribly shocking if you think about it.

iMacs really aren’t as complicated as they were just a few years ago, the parts have consolidated quite a bit. In addition most of the complexity of assembly is being given to increasingly advanced robotics. What years ago was a circuit board put together by humans is now a single chip stamped out by machine. I mentioned this back in June when Google started manufacturing in the US.

I wouldn’t expect something as labor intensive as the iPhone or iPad to be built in the US anytime soon. The limited media access to the factories that we’ve seen, it’s a very manual process.

Manufacturing large goods like an iMac in the US has advantages. First reduced freight costs, less time in Apple’s inventory (something Tim Cook is known to care extensively about), and quite likely tax breaks and subsidies.

I suspect the idea going forward is if it’s labor intensive, do it overseas. If you can do it with minimal human labor, bring it to the US. We’ll see more of these things come “back” to the US as manufacturing techniques are refined and improve extensively. But I don’t think we’ll see the huge number of factory jobs we once had.

Apple Dropping Intel?

Apple is said to be looking at moving away from Intel on the Mac towards ARM. This of course wouldn’t be unfounded giving the iOS platform is already using ARM. I’m certain Apple already has Mac OS X working on ARM chips for development purposes, just like I’m sure they had Intel versions all the years leading up to the x86 transition. Secret builds, and perhaps slightly buggy, but existing and working.

Will Apple switch? I could see them doing so for a lighter more power efficient laptop, however there’s a lot of x86 software out there I can’t see being ported over easily. I also can’t see them using ARM with some sort of Rosetta like layer of emulation. I think that would negate the pro’s.

I’m skeptical of Apple switching, at least right now, but I’m sure they are experimenting, and have been for a long time.

Micro USB To Lightning Adapter

Looks like Apple is now shipping the Lightning to Micro USB Adapter. Very cool since micro USB is pretty much the standard for mobile devices.

It seems like overseas manufactures are making good progress cloning the chip’s functionality. I give it a few more months before the flood of 3rd party cables that are of equal quality to what Apple is selling. That’s when you should stock up.