New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has revealed that 40 per cent of thefts in New York City are of Apple products, as Wall Street Journal’s Rolfe Winkler is all too familiar with following a nasty incident in Brooklyn that resulted in the theft of his iPad.
“We were buried in an e-book when the doors opened at the Bergen Street stop in Brooklyn,” wrote Winkler in a report published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday. “In a flash, a pair of hands dove into my date’s lap and ripped away her iPad. Chasing the guy was instinctive. But he had a crew backing him up that I never daw. Instead of winning back the iPad, I found myself lying on the platform bleeding, my jaw split in half.”
Winkler explains that “Apple picking” has “exploded” because devices from the iPad maker can fetch more than $400 (around £250) in today’s second-hand market.
In his article, Winkler asks whether the industry is doing enough to prevent iPad and iPhone theft. He highlights that many mobile phone carriers have employed the use of blacklists, meaning that when a smartphone is reported stolen, carriers can deny service to the device by recognising its ID number the next time it is used to download data or make a call.
But thieves have found a way around blacklists, by exporting stolen devices to places like Africa and India, where they will still be functional. In countries like Brazil, where iPhones retail for extremely high prices due to import taxes, second hand Apple devices are in high demand.
Winkler suggests that companies could use technology to completely disable devices. “What if a remote kill switch could be thrown to “fry” a stolen smartphone or tablet, making it truly useless?” he asks.
“What’s the point of a mobile device if people don’t feel safe using it while they’re mobile?” Winkler says, highlighting that Apple’s warranty has frequently allowed thieves to get damaged devices replaced at Apple Stores without having to prove that they own it.
Following Winkler’s report, CNN’s Suzanne Kelly tweeted data from NYC Police Comissioner Ray Kelly revealing that 40 per cent of New York thefts are Apple products.
Apple has, however, shown that it has realised that we need stronger security for devices in its decision to buy AuthenTec, a mobile and network security provider.
AuthenTec specialises in a variety of security techniques that could help make the iPhone and iPad more secure, such as content security and fingerprint recognition. This shows a needed focus in mobile security as the industry moves toward e-wallets and locked-down smartphones for enterprises.
For advice on how to protect your iPhone from theft, visit our feature here.