Drop in crime rate? There’s an app for that. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
As highly-desirable and premium-priced tech goodies, it’s no surprise that iPhones have previously been among the most stolen items we carry around on a regular basis. In fact, police have even correlated spikes in crime rate to the launch of new iPhone models — suggesting that it’s not just upstanding citizens who keep an eye on the blogosphere.
That all changed when Apple added its Activation Lock feature with iOS 7, allowing users to locate, lock and even wipe their iPhones remotely in the event that they are stolen. Based on that, a new report claims that the number of stolen iPhones fell significantly in major cities around the world between September 2013, when Activation Lock was introduced, and one year later.
In my experience, Apple Store employees are some of the hardest-working, most reasonable and (despite the fact they’re employed to sell you things) trustworthy people in retail. According to Manhattan district attorney, however, that description isn’t universal.
The DA is indicting four former Apple Store employees, plus a dental office receptionist, for an Apple-related scam that ultimately defrauded Barclays Bank of $700,000, using ill-gotten Apple gift cards.
The STOP-ATTACK app can be quickly activated to record audio and video, and instantly sends out alerts to emergency contacts if there is threat of assault. Illustration: STOP-ATTACK
With the number of smartphone muggings high enough to earn the crime its own category in the police stats, holding a pricey little computer in your hands is like toting a big target.
However, you could also be holding a layer of security: Several apps have emerged that sound an alarm to family, friends and law enforcement in the event a smartphone owner feels threatened, faces an assault or suddenly gets nervous about their surroundings.
Would Apple be more upset at the use of its products in a crime, or the general shoddiness of the execution? Photo:Greater Manchester Police
Looking for a use for that old iPod nano you’ve got lying around the house, gathering dust? Why not become a credit card thief?
Okay, so that’s probably the worst piece of advice you’ve received today, but it was still good enough for a pair of ne’er-do-wells from Stockport, England.
Using an iPod nano, a bit of duct tape, and a plastic contraption which attaches to the card slot of ATMs, the duo discovered a way to record videos of people entering their PIN numbers to withdraw money — using Apple’s one-time music players as a makeshift spy camera.
Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle’s prosthetic hand is controlled using his iPod touch.
Normally a story about a stolen iPod touch wouldn’t be worthy of major news coverage. That changes, however, when the iPod touch in question is used to control its war veteran owner’s prosthetic hand.
The iPod touch belongs to Afghanistan vet Staff Sgt. Ben Eberle, 27, who lost both his right hand and two legs in a bomb explosion three years ago while on a tour of duty. The device features an app called i-limb, which allows Eberle to use his prosthetic hand.
There are different ways to measure the success of a tech company — thing like how many lucrative patents it’s sitting on, how much money it’s giving back to shareholders, and what its overall market penetration is in whatever area it’s operating in.
Well, there’s another way also: how much do its product launches correlate with a spike rates. You can keep your reports about Apple’s recent financial quarters disappointing Wall Street analysts — as far as San Francisco’s criminal element is concerned, Apple is doing better than it has in years.
In 2011, Jayna Murray was slowly, brutally murdered at a Lululemon shop in a Bethesda, Maryland shopping area. She was bludgeoned with a hammer, slashed over 320 times with a box cutter, then strangled to death. Next door at the Apple Store, employees heard her tortuous screams, but didn’t lift a finger. Not to help her. Not to call the police. Nothing. It was just a day after the iPad 2 launched.
Although no one in the Apple Store was complicit in the murders, it was still a PR disaster for Apple’s retail outlet. Now a new book called The Yoga Store Murder by Washington Post reporter Dan Morse delves into the murder and its aftermath.
If there seems to be one universal law of commerce, it is this: If you purchase an iPhone from a strange man in the back of a Burger King parking lot who you initially contacted through Craigslist, it is a fact that there will be anything except an iPhone in the box he sells you.
This is a law of commerce more nitwits should probably internalize, since yet another poor sucker has fallen for this classic ploy, with one important difference: It was a McDonald’s! Dum dum DUM!