And herein lies the rub. There has been some chatter about whether
these kinds of changes would even be possible with Apple’s newer
devices. Those devices come equipped with Apple’s proprietary
Secure Enclave, a portion of the core processing chip where
private encryption keys are stored and used to secure data and to
enable features like TouchID. Apple says that the things that the
FBI is asking for are also possible on newer devices with the Secure Enclave.
The technical solutions to the asks would be different (no
specifics were provided) than they are on the iPhone 5c (and other
older iPhones,) but not impossible.
If I had to bet, Apple is probably working double time to lock it
down even tighter. Its reply to the next order of this type is
likely to be two words long. You pick the two.
The point is that the FBI is asking Apple to crack its own safe,
it doesn’t matter how good the locks are if you modify them to be
weak after installing them. And once the precedent is set then the
opportunity is there for similar requests to be made of all
billion or so active iOS devices. Hence the importance of this
fight for Apple.
So now we know why Apple is drawing the line with this case: it really is a slippery slope that would affect all current devices, not just the ones prior to the A7 CPU and the Secure Enclave.