Beware of thieves ready to chop off the fingers of iPhone 5S owners
Today in Apple: The iPhone 5S might have a dangerous downside. Plus: Free iWork apps hurt Microsoft, and ugly iPhone 5C cases
Violent Thieves and the iPhone 5S
Apple's introduction of fingerprint scanning could have a dangerous downside. The Independent is warning of violent thieves that might hack off the fingers of iPhone 5S owners to get access to their fingerprints.
Marc Rogers said the sensors can provide a convenient way to unlock gadgets while also boosting security.
But they have led criminals to commit increasingly brutal robberies and even chop off phone-owners' fingertips, the chief researcher at mobile security firm Lookout claimed.
Edit: A Lookout PR person recently emailed me about Marc Rogers. Here's her response:
"In regards to Marc Roger's referenced comment, Lookout was misquoted. Lookout does not believe that thieves chopping off fingers to gain access to phones is a valid risk with fingerprint technology. Lookout believes that fingerprint technology is full of exciting promise for consumers and mobile security: if implemented correctly, consumers will have a convenient way to secure their device and fingerprint technology has the potential to usher in a new generation of secure mobile services."
See the Lookout blog for more information.
I have to admit that this possibility never, ever occurred to me while watching Apple's iPhone event. I mean, come on. Who the heck would do something like this? Alas, it's a distinct possibility in some extreme cases. I guess it just goes to show you that there's always a downside to everything, even biometrics on the iPhone.
I'll go on record as saying that I'd happily just touch my finger to the sensor to avoid having it cut off by the thief. Or better yet, I'd volunteer to just turn off the fingerprint scanner altogether for the thief. Hopefully, most thieves will be reasonable and just settle for that instead of hacking off my fingers.
Microsoft Office and Free iWork Apps on iOS
CNN has an article pointing out that Apple's decision to make the iWork apps free will be a huge blow to Microsoft. Microsoft still has not released a version of Microsoft Office for iOS that is fully functional and that doesn't require an Office 365 subscription.
Apple iWork is the scariest foe that Microsoft Office has yet faced, according to Zeus Kerravala, an independent analyst. Apple's offering, which includes iPhoto and iMovie, plus three services that let users create documents and presentations, has deeper functionality than other popular free alternatives, including Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) Docs, Evernote and Dropbox.
To counteract the threat, Kerravala thinks Microsoft should make full-functionality Office Mobile apps available to all Apple and Android non-corporate users.
Unfortunately, I doubt Microsoft will do much about this. They completely missed the boat by not releasing Office for Android and iOS. So users simply opted for other software, and figured out that in most cases they don't need Microsoft Office.
I think Microsoft will rue the day it didn't get its office suite onto Android and iOS. Once people learn how to use other alternatives, they might never bother with Office even if Microsoft releases it for mobile devices without the subscription requirement.
Ugly iPhone 5C Cases
Fast Company has called into question the design of the iPhone 5C cases. The article points out how the cases partially cover some of the text on the back of the iPhone.
If the iPhone 5C case merely hid this text, I'd have no problem with the design. Nor would I have much of an issue if a little window had been left open for it, or at least the word "iPhone." They could even have moved the polkadot grid to the top of the case instead of the bottom and I'd be fine. What is mystifying to me is the way the polkadot grid of the iPhone 5C case half-obscures, half-exposes all of this text. It looks terrible, like a Playskool fishnet stocking that has been sloppily pulled over a sign.
Image Courtesy of Fast Company
I agree with that point, but I also think that the covers are just flat out ugly. Who wants a bunch of holes on the back of their cases? To say it looks trashy is an understatement.
It would still look ugly even if the text on the back of the iPhone was totally hidden or made more visible. The holes themselves just make it look silly, regardless of the rest of it. I can't imagine using one of these cases if I owned an iPhone 5C.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.