From tiny innovations to big brawls, this is how Apple rolled in 2016

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Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Thank Jobs, 2016 is finally over!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac 2016 sent Apple for a wild ride full of fantastic new products, crazy controversies and tons of extra drama with its rivals.

Tim Cook and his colleagues probably can’t wait to jump into 2017. But before we start looking toward Apple’s future, let’s take a quick look back at all the stories that made 2016 a year Apple fans will never forget.

Snowden’s iPhone case tells you when you’re being spied on

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Edward Snowden is building his own iPhone case.
Photo: PubPub

When you think of Edward Snowden the first phrase your mind goes to probably isn’t “quality iPhone case manufacturer.” Nonetheless, the famed NSA whistleblower today announced that he has presented just such a smartphone accessory at an event at MIT’s Media Lab.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to the case’s unique selling point?

Facebook Messenger may soon add end-to-end encryption

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David Marcus Facebook F8 Conference 2016
Messenger is finally getting encryption.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook plans to tighten security on its popular Messenger platform this summer, but it won’t be turned on for all users by default.

Messenger will add a new end-to-end encryption feature that prevents hackers and the government from being able to read your text messages. Facebook won’t be able to read your messages either though, and that will seriously hurt its ability to make bots great if you decide to opt-in to better security.

Oliver Stone amps up spy action in first Snowden trailer

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The first Snowden trailer reveals how he leaked the NSA's secrets.
The first Snowden trailer reveals how he leaked the NSA's secrets.
Photo: Open Road Films

Joseph Gordon-Levitt busts out his best nerd voice in the first trailer for Oliver Stone’s new film, Snowden.

The film is based on the true story of how Edward Snowden went from enlisting in army reserve, to exposing the illegal surveillance activities conducted by the NSA and thus becoming the most wanted man in the world.

Check it out:

Edward Snowden says FBI’s claims against Apple are ‘bull****’

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Edward Snowden.
The government is lying to us? Color me surprised!
Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden made a (virtual) appearance at yesterday’s “Blueprint for Democracy,” during which he threw some shade on the FBI’s claims that only Apple has the power to help it unlock the iPhone at the heart of the San Bernardino shooting case.

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone,” Snowden told the audience. “Respectfully, that’s bullsh*t.”

Developer behind world’s most secure messaging app joins Apple

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Signal is the world's most secure messaging app.
Signal is the world's most secure messaging app.
Photo: Open Whisper Systems

Apple plans to make future versions of iOS so secure even it can’t hack it, and the company is wasting no time stocking up on talented developers that specialize in encryption.

One of the iPhone-maker’s most recent hires, Frederic Jacobs, was previously a lead developer for Signal, which has earned a name as one of the most secure messaging apps available. It’s so good, it’s become a favorite of former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden who says he uses it everyday.

FBI could hack San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone using acid and lasers

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iPhone mobile encryption touch id
There's one risky hacking method the FBI hasn't tried yet.
Photo: Olly Browning/Pixabay

The FBI claims there’s absolutely no other way for it to access San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c expect other having Apple create a backdoor. But according to Edward Snowden there’s at least one other option: acid and lasers.

The former NSA contractor and privacy activist appeared in a virtual talk at Johns Hopkins University and pointed out that even though FBI insists forcing Apple to hack the iPhone is the only way forward, that’s simply not true.

8 surprising twists in the Apple/FBI encryption case

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iPhone by tookapic Apple FBI encryption
The truth is (really) out there.
Photo: tookapic/Pixabay

It’s been a crazy day for news in the case of Apple v. the federal government in the battle over the data contained on a mass-shooter’s iPhone, and some surprising facts are emerging between the two side’s shots at each other.

Today, we saw the Justice Department double down on the original court order, some predictable antics from presidential candidate Donald Trump, and Apple’s responses to both. But we’re also picking up some interesting details that make this already complicated issue even murkier. And things aren’t quite as simple as either side is claiming.

Here are some of the most surprising aspects of this case that have come out in the past few days.

Snowden says Apple security case is most important issue in a decade

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Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden.
Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

Internet privacy activist and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has come out in favor of Tim Cook’s decision to deny a federal court judge’s request that Apple help the FBI hack the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5c.

Snowden is calling Apple’s battle over security the most important tech case in a decade, and has called out Google for not coming to the public’s side on the issue. In a series of tweets expounding on the issues, Snowden said the FBI’s efforts to force Apple to give them a key bypasses citizen’s ability to defend their rights.

Edward Snowden leaks with praise for Apple’s privacy stance

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Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden
Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

Apple has been eager to point out lately that unlike Google and Facebook it doesn’t collect or sell your personal information. It’s been a great way for the company to differentiate itself from its competitors and Apple has apparently won over Edward Snowden in the process.

In a recent interview, Snowden was asked whether he thinks Tim Cooks perspective on privacy has been genuine and honest, to which Snowden replied, “it doesn’t matter if he’s being honest or dishonest,” but “that’s a good thing for privacy. That’s a good thing for customers.”

Snowden pointed out that Apple obviously has a financial incentive to differentiate itself from competitors, and we should incentivize other companies to follow their path: