September 26, 2012, 1:51 PM —
Source: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
In the days before the U.S. launch, stories cropped up from various locations of harsh tactics used by private security and local law enforcement as thousands of expectant consumers camped outside of local Apple stores ahead of the phone's launch on September 12.
Then, in the days following the launch, around 2,000 workers at Foxconn's Taiyuan manufacturing plant in Northern China rioted. The circumstances leading up to the incident aren't known, but it is known that the Taiyuan plant manufactures the rear casing for the iPhone, and that Apple is rushing to produce more iPhone 5s to keep up with demand, after selling around 5 million of the devices in its first weekend. More than one news source cited pressure to churn out iPhones for ratcheting up overtime – and tensions – within the facility.
All the "guns and badges" stuff means we heard less about the kind of "security" problem we usually associate with popular electronics. You know: the kind that crashes your phone or, worse, divulges your contacts, credit card numbers and booze-fueled texting sessions? Indeed: Apple's launch of the iPhone 5 contained almost no mention of device security –either good or bad.
That's no accident. As with all its product launches, Apple jealously guarded even minor details about its new phone or the launch event beforehand and, because it makes both the hardware and software that make up the iPhone, the company can keep a tight lid on almost every detail of its devices. The company knows that later, in the excitement of the launch ("Thinner! Bigger screen! Faster!") sniggling questions about buffer overflows or the vulnerable Webkit mobile browser component sound like sour grapes from the mouth of a reporter.
Now that the excitement has died down, it's worth a look under the hood to try to answer that all-important question: is the iPhone 5 more secure? The answer, of course, depends on what you're comparing it to.