Monday, September 16, 2013

Is the Apple A7 part of a Long Term Strategic Play?

This article by Simon Bisson at ZDNet points out that the Apple A7 chip that was just announced as part of the iPhone 5S (and most likely will carry over to the rest of the product line as they refresh) is bigger than a lot of people think.  I think he may be right.  The implications to a more secure OS is delightful.
    With a virtualisation-ready processor in its new phone, Apple can now start to move iOS in the direction of a hypervisor-controlled sandbox environment, perhaps using a technology like Microsoft's research OS Drawbridge.
    Here the operating system component of a VM is tailored to the application it is hosting – minimising the attack surface of each secure partition. Combined with a fingerprint sensor to identify users, Apple has the tools it needs to deliver biometric access control, allowing devices to support multiple users, with files and apps for one user hidden from another using hardware encryption.
This article in Apple Insider, is another good read.  It describes what the author thinks is Apple catching one of it's biggest competitors and the field flat footed.

-- Chris Claborne

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