Apple is fighting back, and boy are we glad to hear it! Did you know that Philly tops the list of major cities in cell-phone jacking? Indeed, we are the City of Brother Love, Sisterly Affection and stolen phones!
While the new iPhone operating system may have gotten a smug look from Droid users; the NYPD has a different opinion! They are so in-love with new operating system that they have been actively encouraging iPhone users to upgrade to the newest system. Does the NYPD have stock in Apple? Not hardly; however, one of its newest feature will hopefully save them some man hours and possibly your life!
Earlier this year, a pharmacist was shot and killed in the Society Hill section of Philly as he chased the man who stole his cell phone. Around the same time as the pharmacist was killed here in Philly, another person, Hwangbum Yang (26), was killed for his smartphone. He was on his way home from work at Manhattan restaurant and was shot when he refused to hand over his phone. After he died, he phone was later found on Craig’s List for $400.
Phone thefts are even more of an issue on subways! All across the country, cell phone thieves watch people who clearly using their phones. Then, as the person boards the train, they snatch the phone and run while the phone’s rightful owner is stuck on the train as the doors close. As a matter of fact, in Philly, SEPTA police officers have distributed notices like this one trying to warn the public.
You might ask, “what’s the deal with the phones?” Well, it isn’t just a case of “the thug in the neighborhood” wants a phone. It is actually a global problem. The cell phone industry is unique in the US. More specifically, wireless phone companies subsidize phones sold here whereas in others, it is the norm to plunk down $700 for a phone, the full cost. Therefore, the recipients of phones stolen in the US save a grip which creates an incentive for thieves to continue “apple picking” (phrase used to describe the fact that Apple products are the most frequently stolen technology devices).
So, again, what is this new feature? It is actually a lock out feature that can’t be hacked (or so we/they think!)! In order to do anything with the phone, a user’s iCloud and password is absolutely necessary. This enables you to wipe your phone completely clean of your personal information. It also allows you to set up a message that directs someone to contact you if your phone is powered on after being lost or stolen. The predecessor to this app, “Find my iPhone”, could be effortlessly compromised which made it easy to re-sell. The new feature requires your iCloud information before anything can be done with the phone, EVEN AFTER YOU’VE WIPED IT REMOTELY!
Apple, 1; Thieves ? (give ‘em time)! But it’s a step in the right direction!