I am an Apple hater BUT I have to say very proud of the new Apple and actually saying they made a mistake and apologizes. This and the fight for security are both things as a self proclaimed Apple Hater applaud Apple for doing. Good job!
This is not a healthy mentality to have about anything.
We all have biases I just like to think I try to make mine more vocal :)
Isn't that precisely what the OP did though? He created new opinions when the situation changed.
I used to have an iPhone, but after it got outdated, I bought an Android phone. I also find OSX difficult to use and prefer Linux and Windows. I prefer Android, Windows and Linux, and think Google has better business practices than Apple. I guess you could also call me an "Apple hater", but I really just give people a hard time for having different preferences than I do.
I 100% stand behind Apple's standing up for security. I 100% support them backing down from their original justification of the intentional Error 53. I still prefer non-Apple things, so I'll advocate for it.
There's no real hate going on here. Every time there's a new console, the "Console Wars" heat back up again, but nobody really hates each other, they're just vehemently defending their personal preferences.
Don't you consider this maybe a bit childish and petty? Having a preference is one thing, but that's no excuse for being dismissive and inflammatory.
Outsiders say "Man, you hate that guy! me: What? he was my best man in my wedding last week! (True Story)
The reason we can say those things is because of how close we are to that person.
In case you are not familiar with the culture: there is a longstanding tradition of playful insults between console and PC gamers as well as in gaming in general. There's nothing inflammatory about this, it's all in jest and the participants are aware of it.
It's childish, I suppose, but we're talking about video games after all.
Remember: we are a lot of different people here and if we should all judge each another based on our own backgrounds the noise level would likely increase to a level where most sane people left.
Remember Google Reader? Google+? Wave? Buzz? Every company puts out shitty apps now and again.
The FBI is taking this public at a politically opportune time to try to make it so they can order this type of thing for any digital device they physically possess.
There's also a bit of me that thinks the timing is also a convenient way to influence the presidential election. Law enforcement groups are heavily Republican. Encryption has been a topic brought up in the debates. Dems usually say things like "We just need to ask nicely and they'll help us out, I know it"; to your average voter, this is proof-positive that that's not true, and it gives the law-and-order candidates remaining in the GOP field (which, I guess remaining are Cruz and Bush? This would've helped Christie and hurt Fiorina) a very powerful amplifier for their anti-crypto positions.
> " So the reason why price-fixing is illegal, and also unethical, is not that it hurts consumers. The key reason is that it violates one of the basic requirements for markets to work efficiently. In order for markets to function with anything approaching efficiency — never mind fairness — several conditions must obtain: for starters, there must be sufficient information in the hands of both buyer and seller, and the costs of transactions must be borne by the participants, rather than spilling over onto bystanders. But most important for the present case, markets can only be efficient if buyers have real options — that is, if no seller has the power to bully the market. Behavior aimed at letting one seller, or a group of sellers, bully the market is contrary to the requirements of efficient markets." http://businessethicsblog.com/2013/06/07/price-fixing-not-ju...
> to kill jailbroken phones
(Or Android hater, or any other tech "hater" for that matter. Why can't we accept that companies do different things without proclaiming ourselves as "haters"?)
“The so-called paradox of freedom is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek. The idea is, in a slightly different form, and with very different tendency, clearly expressed in Plato.
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
― Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies 
"Tolerance," to me, has a simple definition: whoever uses force first is the one who's intolerant. I'd be curious to know how Popper avoided the same conclusion.
If you express an intolerant opinion, it's important for me to express that I think you're full of shit and why, and that I won't tolerate it, without physically lifting a finger against you, or otherwise trying to destroy your life or well being. That's how and why freedom of speech works. It doesn't indemnify you from the consequences of expressing your opinions.
I am fully justified in expressing my intolerance of your intolerance without resorting to violence. I'm not going to wait for you to go as far as to hit me in the face or spend money on a propaganda campaign that's actively trying to destroy my marriage (for example), before I verbally express my intolerance of something you said or did.
But if you donated to a political campaign that results in destroying my marriage, or if you're the executive director of an organization dedicated to that cause, and I find out that you've been having gay sex orgies on the low down, or cheating on your wife on Ashley Madison, then it's totally justified for me to publicly out you, and if your wife decides to divorce you or FRC decides to fire you upon learning that, then it's between you and them, and what I did was totally justified, no matter how much you feel like playing the victim.
Simply expressing verbal support for the candidate, on the other hand, wouldn't be an instance of the use of force.
The passage from Karl Popper you quoted contains the problematic language, "But we should claim the right to suppress (utterances of intolerance) if necessary even by force." That's where an arbitrary exercise of unequal power comes in. Unless Popper is claiming that an external source of morality exists to decide who's allowed to respond to speech with violence and who is not, he's on very shaky philosophical ground.
Oh no! Someone has an opinion you disagree with! Clearly, they're stupid.
Original Mac replaced the over $10,000 Lisa for a quarter of the price then left the color option off the market for over a year. (My dad was buying the first Mac when the color one comes out ended up with an Amiga).
Amgia: Apple lied about the capabilities of the Amiga. My Amiga 1000 at 7.16 MHz could run an emulator of the MacOS at 7.8336 MHz BOTH on the same 68000 CPU and the Amiga out preformed it in benchmarks. The Mac took many years to catch up to the Amiga. Amiga had analogue colors and Mac had a extremely limited range of colors that were digital.
You ever have to service the old Apple Printers? WOW they were HORRIBLE!
Even worse did you ever have to work with Token Rings?!?!?! I will never be able to read Lord of the Rings without going into a rage about the 1990s networking with these beauts!
The "Pro-Tools" era of Digital audio. Even after the need for proprietary hardware for I/O was over (1998 or so) they continued to sell many many thousands of dollars inputs based on false information provided by Apple.
Lies: No malware or virus. No crashes. - No OS is safe (They even use to suggest that people have an anti-virus program running on OS X on their website) Still today OS X and Apple software crashes all the time on me. Just Sunday a mission critical part of the presentation refused to work till after a hard reboot and re-install of the software.
Litigation as a tool to stop competition.
Present Day: Price Fixing which breaks down the rights of the buyer to have the power and knowledge in purchasing (This is why it is illegag.
Walled garden - I'm an old school Hacker who prefer Linux and open hardware.
Macs life span is so short presently. Apple doesn't even tell you what the life span of their OS releases will be (Unless that changed recently)
30% commission on apps, books and well everyone's work. This causes Apple (Google also guilty of this) to make more off of people's work then the creators do. This is part of the reason why we had the EBook price fixing issue.
OS X and Apple Software UI is very limiting and causes me to go mad trying to remember what the "Apple Way" is. My biggest pet peeve is Final Cut does not have a Render for the longest time. I had to always go search for the way to just pre-render and final render video projects to export. This made me look silly BUT Final Cut added render as an actual term a few years ago. Render was the technical word for all video editing EXCEPT Final Cut!
I could go on for much more and I am sure you disagree with all of it, but to say someone disagrees with something you prefer as being unintelligent just means you have your own bias that allow you to believe you are smarter due to your preferences.
Check reviews and ratings of any third-party store before you get your phone repaired. There are great ones and there are terrible ones, just like with any service business. And if anyone from any store tells you they buy iPhone screens from Apple, or that they do use "genuine OEM parts", now you know--they are lying.
haha no, they either use completely fake screen/glass, or fancier "higher quality" (as in not completely shit) recycled gorilla glass + counterfeit screen combo.
What is worse there are no 100% reliable sources of spare parts and you can never be confident about the next shipment.
We have gotten to the point with our distributors where we order in such large quantities that they know us personally--and they also know we're going to send a screen back if it even has one dead pixel. So they send us their best stuff. We still have a small failure rate, which we mitigate by testing each screen as much as we can before giving it back to the customer and then offering a 1-year warranty for manufacturer defects on the screen as well.
It's the best we can do--no matter what technology you buy, unfortunately, it's never going to be 100% perfect. You buy from the vendors that are the most consistent and you pay a bit more for a higher quality product. And, as a customer, that's why I always recommend you read online reviews before you take your phone or computer to be serviced somewhere. The good places have great reviews because they take care of their customers.
Both Chinese distributors and some less-reputable cell phone repair stores love to advertise these screens as "OEM." However, they are NOT, because the new glass doesn't come from Apple. It can't, because Apple doesn't sell replacement parts. So, while part of the screen (the original LCD) may indeed be "OEM", the entire screen--as a whole--is NOT. And that is why we do not call it "OEM" and I will publicly call BS on other places that do.
Again: OEM replacement screens do not exist unless you go to an Apple Store. Apple does not sell the parts. High-quality replacement screens with Gorilla Glass are pretty much indistinguishable from the original, but they are not 100% OEM and should not be labeled as such.
You can stomp up and down and say OEM parts don't exist, but they do. Not only that, but phones that are bricked, stolen, or maybe even water damaged slightly could have the screen salvaged assuming it wasn't ruined. They do exist.
Will you be lucky to get an OEM screen, probably not, but my comment was to highlight the fact that what you're saying about parts being 3rd party 100% of the time are impossible.
If you get your home button repaired by a third party, now, Touch ID simply won't work. Seems reasonable considering home button issues that would require repair are relatively rare--phones with destroyed home buttons are usually in such bad shape that the owner is just glad to get a working phone back, never mind the Touch ID.
Apple Stores usually won't work on phones with bent frames, severe water damage, etc. anyway--they'll just try to sell you a new (refurbished) phone. Third party repair stores will attempt the repair and can often fix the phone, resulting in a happy customer who gets a cheaper repair and gets to keep the data on their phone.
There actually are AASPs for the iPhone; however the only ones that exist are fairly long-standing and grandfathered in. Apple does not allow for new AASPs. I have a very close friend that works for the lone AASP in Auburn, AL (notable because Tim Cook is an Auburn aluminus).
They can do the repair, but it's not a painless one because it does still require a good bit of back and forth with Apple.
Allow repairs of the device you OWN with parts you decide and not the manufacturer.
I wouldn't be surprised if Apple Pay was the actual reason behind all this stuff.
Malware is bad, but malware which can "authorize" payments is a whole new level of bad and would cost Apple actual money. So they run Pay on a separate CPU whose communications with the fingerprint scanner are encrypted to prevent the main CPU (which relays those communications) from replaying user's fingerprint many times to "authorize" unwanted transactions. Hence the "pairing" of home button to the phone.
Regarding specific hardware tied to a device cryptographically, I'm on the fence about this. This is similar to signing-keys used with kernel modules which is still widely used in Windows.
On HN people have speculated that having a manual 'switch' to toggle on the motherboard for doing firmware updates. So the device can't be tampered with remotely. That seems ideal for that threat model.
But I personally don't see a problem with what Apple is doing here even though it's with physical access. Primarily considering the product is an iPhone which is generally sold as an all-encompassing product/service by Apple. It's not a linux-y customizable device. So having the additional security via hardware locked to the Secure Enclave is a value-add if you're going the proprietary route. Apple's customer service is usually quite good, so that's not a significant barrier. There are other options on the market if you want cheap 3rd-party repairs.
No thank you.
The reality is that an unscrupulous repair shop will just answer yes to the prompt (or tell the user to answer yes).
People clicked "install" when prompted by IE to install an unrestricted ActiveX control because a banner ad wanted them to "punch the monkey". Do you really think they're going to think about the security of a touch sensor?
Now take it one step further and imagine a government spy agency wants to intercept phones and replace parts. (In fact I'm sure it is already happening).
Fundamentally, I feel the real question is who gets to decide who I trust. I want to choose for myself.
Authenticator + smart phone is not ideal but it's still better than fingerprints. It's harder to steal a phone from somebody, while it's almost impossible to prevent the theft of your fingerprints.
What am I missing here?
Ie, I add a logger to your sensor, get all of your data, then make a sensor that translates my fingerprint to look like your fingerprint (or just always sends your fingerprint)
Touch ID has been proven to be vulnerable to fingerprint clones for years.
Edit: Yes, not broken but also not 100% secure.
The concept of Secure Enclave, for one.
Right? So I still can't see why a 3rd party touch ID sensor can't speak the protocol towards the secure enclave. Can you enlighten me on this?
Edit (rate limited) for answer below: Is your argument still valid if you can already can use a dummy finger to unlock your phone as per various CCC videos demonstrated?
If that's not the case, then the whole design of a simple pin combined with a complex device id to form a secure key is not as strong as was thought.
Basically, everyone should now use an alphanumeric password on their phones and not rely on the 10-tries limit or on the exponentially increasing delays.
 https://www.apple.com/business/docs/iOS_Security_Guide.pdf (page 5)
What proof is there of this ?
Even reports I've heard from people at the White House believe the newer phones are simply not possible for Apple to compromise.
A possible mitigation against the "FBI attack" (which I don't know if Apple has implemented), while still allowing SEP firmware updates, would be to have a simple routine in ROM that the SEP always runs upon boot (before running the SEP firmware blob) to verify that as hash of the firmware blob matches the one previously recorded by the SEP. If it doesn't, it could either wipe and update the hash, or refuse to boot until the previous blob is restored. When updating the firmware normally, the SEP would simply verify the user enters their pin before updating the hash.
Or simply require pin entry (or wipe) for all DFU firmware updates, which seems like a much safer option.
Entering Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode
Restoring a device after it enters DFU mode returns it to known good state with the certainty that only unmodified Apple-signed code is present. DFU mode can be entered manually: First connect the device to a computer using a USB cable, then hold down both the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons. After 8 seconds, release the Sleep/Wake button while continuing to hold down the Home button. Note: Nothing will be displayed on the screen when the device is in DFU mode. If the Apple logo appears, the Sleep/Wake button was held down too long.
The only question is, does the existing firmware blank the store keys before flashing the new update. I didn't see any indication that it does.
Lots of people felt (IMHO with poor understandings of the situation) that it was, and that a modern iPhone would never be "hackable" by the government in this way. That turns out not to be the case, for the obvious reason that Apple needs to be able to ship modified firmware for the enclave, and that modified firmware can always contain modifications to emit the encryption keys in a way that the original security metaphor wouldn't have permitted.
Basically: people are hanging their determination that "the iPhone is secure from government snooping by technological measures" on a completely unattested fantasy design. The real device almost certainly doesn't work like that, and even Apple hasn't claimed that it does.
I'm not sure it's useful to have a battle of hypotheses and assumptions couched in the language of confidence and certainty.
But even on the technical side, my point was stronger: the fact that the enclave firmware was just updated to behave differently without wiping the data that it controls argues very (very!) strongly that the "snoop-proof" feature you believe exists... doesn't.
The fact that the enclave firmware can be seamlessly updated while in an unlocked state is not evidence that the enclave firmware can be seamlessly in a locked state.
edit: the "firmware" update is an iOS update that removes the software limitation. SOFTWARE LIMITATION. On newer iPhones it's hardware (secure enclave).
Yes, you can do an firmware update on an encrypted iPhone. It's not full disk encryption. Only user data is encrypted.
The Secure Enclave (in the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6) has a hardware enforced rate limiter that cannot be overridden by a firmware update.
The article states:
"Apple can update the SE firmware, it does not require the phone passcode, and it does not wipe user data on update."
But it does not support this statement in any way. In my experience, it does either require the phone passcode, or it wipes the data. Of course, I have no idea where that requirement is implemented.
It would be easy and sensible to have the secure enclave require the passcode for an update to its own firmware, or erase the keys it holds when applying such an update without the passcode. Apple doesn't say they do it from what I can tell, but it would fit with everything else they do, it's pretty easy to do, and I've seen no indication that it doesn't do this.
All we know is that Apple at some point increased the delay. Doesn't mean they can decrease it.
It's pretty well accepted at this point that Apple is capable of complying with the FBI's request. The big question is whether Apple would be capable of complying with a similar request with a newer iPhone that includes a Secure Enclave.
It's claim that the Secure Enclave is comprimisable is based on Apple releasing a firmware update that "increased delays between passcode attempts". From this the author then assumes that Apple then has the ability to "disable passcode delays and auto erase". There is no evidence for this. And there are plenty of other scenarios like their being a hardware minimum attempt delay, auto erase not being possible or the maximum attempt count implemented in hardware.
Seriously though, this seems like a consumer-friendly decisions, as was the iOS backdoor/San Bernadino press release yesterday and it's nice to see.
Fortunately a friend overheard my conversation and recommended I just take it to Apple. Sure enough, screen replacements are something like $105 out the door. The replace the screen and digitizer.
When I went back for my phone, they told me they tried 2 new screens+digitizers and neither one worked, so they just gave me a new phone for the "screen replacement" price.
Needless to say, I was quite happy I didn't try to DIY. I had no idea the "official" Apple repairs would be so cheap. I guess things have gotten a lot more consumer friendly since the bad PR days of cracked screens.
I'm not sure if the home button is replaced in a screen replacement, but I can't imagine it's particularly expensive vs a screen+digitizer replacement.
Compared with every other customer service experience I've had, this is gold standard and means I'll almost certainly keep buying Apple kit (although my current battery issues aren't being handled as effectively, mind.)
When you get a display replaced, the phone goes through 2 machines, one of which calibrates the phone by launching some weird firmware while in the machine (actually kinda neat, its like a DFU mode but it doesn't wipe the phone in the process)
Since every phone has to run through the machine, it creates a backlog of phones that are waiting. These phones work without being put through the machine, but sometimes the displays are fucked and the machine detects that (and the phone then gets a new display, etc etc).
The machine also pairs the display with the phone, so that Applecare have a record of what display is currently on what phone.
If you take your phone in again, they do a spot check to make sure that display matches and they're good to go. If it doesn't, then they're supposed to refuse service (cause its likely that it was done at a dodgy repairer).
HOWEVER! I've seen phones get stuck in weird loops as soon as they're restarted if they haven't been put through the machine yet. The phone basically is fucked at that point and needs replacement. Remember, this is a legit repair that has caused this, and happens way more than you think (maybe 1 in 20 when i left, its probably better now).
Therefore, they are probably taking this route because they can't be sure that they aren't the cause of the fuckups.
Is it more tractable or less tractable for someone to brute-force the 4 digit pin than the TouchID? I.e. if someone wanted to get into my phone, and they removed the official TouchID sensor and now it falls back on a 4 digit pin, does that do them any good?
I wonder if I could get the old behaviour back - if someone was tampering with my phone by removing the sensor, is there any way of bricking the phone until I can get it to an apple store?
> Touch ID can be trained to recognize up to ve di erent ngers. With one finger enrolled, the chance of a random match with someone else is 1 in 50,000. However, Touch ID allows only ve unsuccessful ngerprint match attempts before the user is required to enter a passcode to obtain access.
So that's at least 4 digits. Newer devices like the 6 series and 6s series may have better sensors.
The quote, in English:
> Touch ID can be trained to recognize up to five different fingers.
> With one finger enrolled, the chance of a random match with someone else is 1 in 50,000.
> However, Touch ID allows only five unsuccessful fingerprint match attempts before the user is required to enter a passcode to obtain access.
I remember an episode of macgyver where macgyver gets past a handprint scanner by sprinkling baking soda over it; it adhered to the oil left on the scanner by the previous user and he got in.
Links to https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205628
I broke my screen and home button and had them replaced before I went on vacation. Luckily I had read about the error 53 issue before attempting to upgrade my jailbroken device.
I'm very surprised Apple would respond so well to an issue typically caused by 3rd party repairs.
Does that mean Error 53 stemmed from Apple having distrust in their supply chain? Interesting.
Note that Apple doesn't sell parts directly, and any third-party repair store that says differently is lying to you. There are, however, plenty of high-quality replacement parts available from other distributors.
Edit: even if they're losing money on every repair, it might be worth it to them to give people the peace of mind of knowing that they can "take it back to where they got it" to have it fixed if anything bad happens. That's not a common thing with electronics these days.
This is a common misconception. Apple DOES license repair shops for Mac repairs. However, those licensed shops cannot do iPhone screen repairs, per their agreement with Apple. Apple doesn't have any way to get licensed for iPhone screen repairs--nor do they sell "official" Apple parts. Hence, the huge third-party repair industry that has popped up, complete with distributors offering high-quality screen/digitizer replacements and stores that will replace screens.
As far as software issues go, we really only get two of them at our store: either someone is out of space on their phone, or their phone won't install the latest iOS update. (We got a million of the latter when iOS 9 came out.) There's not much money to be made with either of those two issues, and they're both relatively rare compared to broken screens, so even if they are allowed to fix software issues, it's certainly not a money maker for them.
Unfortunately for these businesses, being an authorized Apple repair center doesn't exactly bring in the big bucks these days. Strange that Apple won't do an entire program for screen repairs--it'd certainly make them a killing to do so--but it's their prerogative, I suppose.
What better way to make money than forcing your user to upgrade every time product dies?
Apple definitely looks out of their own interests, but they jump through a lot of hoops to protect their customers from bad experiences, especially since the obvious implementation was to just disable the fingerprint sensor if can't be trusted.
Edit: additional info from the TC article: <<The update is not for users who update their iPhones over the air (OTA) via iCloud. If you update your phone that way, you should never have encountered Error 53 in the first place.>> Your conspiracy theory would really require that they brick phones through both the OTA and iTunes update.
I would say Apple is one of the best, if not the best company for customer service, but I wouldn't go so far as to make a blanket statement like that.
There are a lot of 2011 Macbook Pro owners (me being one of them) who would disagree.
There were thousands of complaints in the Apple support forums, several articles in major Apple/Tech blogs, etc. It took well over a year for the issue to be acknowledged. In that regard, I'm kinda jealous how fast this Error 53 thing got resolved.
would deliberately try to brick their customers phones who made unauthorized alterations to their phones via 3rd party repairs
Yep. Totally would.
Yes I do think that they would attempt to discourage unauthorized repairs in such a way for less-than-noble reasons.
If you think it was a mistake, then can you explain why Apple wasn't bothered to do anything until someone ran an article on it and publicized it?
One thing you'll probably do is triage: by looking at the numbers of devices that fail in various ways, you can optimize your parts channels, training, processes, etc. in various ways. This is business 101.
Now try to guess how many people have been experiencing this error. My guess is it is a pretty small percentage of several hundred million. I also guess that there are a number of other failure modes affecting similarly small groups of users. In a device as complex as the iPhone, with a population that large, there has to be.
But wait! Now the press is hammering you over one of those small-population failure modes. Everything else equal, you're an idiot if you don't handle that one first.
Of course, thought, this is Apple. So the reasonable, simple explanation makes no sense and instead Occam's Second Exception indicates that when Apple is involved, skullduggery and shenanigans are the only reasonable explanation.
Repairs are not really a revenue stream. Apple Care is a revenue stream but the incentive is to not repair. Since every repair logged against Apple Care is a cost, it doesn't make sense that Apple would want to do this themselves from a purely economic perspective.
I've been in HW all my working life. Any field return is expensive and resource intensive to handle and you cannot pass all those costs onto your customers. You do it to provide good service to your customers. You eat the repair cost as part of internal warranty cost which is built into the pricing of every unit sold.
What you are saying just doesn't make sense to me.
As a user I don't want any yahoo being able to replace my touch ID sensor. I have tons of sensitive information on my phone. I want that thing disabled if touch ID breaks or has been tampered with.
>If you think it was a mistake, then can you explain why Apple wasn't bothered to do anything until someone ran an article on it and publicized it?
How do you know that they didn't "bother to do anything" on this issue until someone ran an article?
That hardly takes too much imagination. One possible explanation is that higher-ups in Apple read the news, but not necessarily every single "the Apple Store won't replace my broken phone" complaint.
For a company that takes so much pride in supporting its customers, you'd think the stores would have been able to contact Apple internally to find out what the error even is before saying they won't fix it, right? Which would have led them to realize it was not meant to be running in production?
I have added some additional information to the parent comment (i.e., only bricked updates via iTunes, not OTA) that further undermine the theory that this was a deliberate change. I realize that you could still argue that the actual bug was that the OTA update did not brick the phones, but Occam's razor really starts applying...
<<If you think it was a mistake, then can you explain why Apple wasn't bothered to do anything until someone ran an article on it and publicized it?>>
I do agree with you that Apple has a long record of dragging their feet to issue fixes for pretty significant bugs, so it is possible that the press caused them the issue the patch faster.
I don't buy Apple products for this specific reason. My answer is Apple would and have done it. I am not an Apple typical customer, I love to hack and take things apart.
> "Warning: Apple has discovered that some of the unauthorized unlocking programs available on the Internet may cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software," the message read. "If you have modified your iPhone's software, applying this software update may result in your iPhone becoming permanently inoperable."
Even this point is a bit disingenuous - your quote from the article in no way supports your position that Apple would deliberately brick your phone - and in fact, there is a quote further down in the article you cited that further undermines this claim:
<<a user identified as ansuz07 said, "The percentage of iPhones that have become bricked from hacks is very low. Even those that experienced problems could be fixed by a simple restore. Apple is going to make it sound a lot worse than it actually is since they are the ones who don't want you to do it in the first place">>
The fact it could come up later after a 3rd party repair was done probably wasn't thought of. I'm willing to buy it was an accident. Occam's Razor would seem to support it.
The other theory, that Apple designed this to screw people who went to 3rd party repair shops into buy new phones, requires assuming a fair amount of malicious intent and pre-planning on Apple's part.
Oh, and they wouldn't have backtracked, fixed the problem, and offered refunds to people who bought new phones as a result of this.
Apple isn't clueless enough to think that this error 53 thing wouldn't cause a crap-storm...
The last time this occurred, it was over illegally claiming iPhones and other Apple devices were out of warranty when they weren't, and misleading consumers that to get any form of warranty service after one year they would need to purchase an Apple extended warranty. They were not only fined millions, but were forced into printing a humiliating retraction on their website and in the press - one that basically was reported on worldwide.
I'm not at all surprised they backed down this quickly this time around. It's almost certain they would have been found to have committed the offence of third line forcing, to which there are very, very steep fines.
New personal rule: never update the phone again... ever.