Manufacturers Introduce New Security Feature to Confound Smartphone Snatchers
To many people, the term “innovation” sounds like meaning the idea of creating something entirely new, something no eye has ever seen before; which of course isn’t the case. The definition of “innovation” involves introducing or creating something new; it can be a device, design, or a method to improve an existing device’s function or usability. Of the latter, some smart innovators of mobile devices have recently done something of interest to consumers, and surely to phone predators.
Last month, Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. introduced an anti-theft feature for their new smartphone operating system. The new iOS 7 mobile operating system for Apple’s mobile devices includes the security feature called “Activation Lock”. As described on Phys.org, this feature will prevent any mobile device thief from disabling the “Find My iPhone” function that comes built into smartphones. Anyone trying to disable the Find My iPhone function will be required by the Activation Lock feature to enter the device’s user ID and password. In other words, if the owner is robbed of their smartphone, the Activation Lock feature will make the phone useless for the robber, or thief, because they won’t be able to sell it.
The need for a security program like the Activation Lock was pressing on manufacturers for several months due to the alarmingly high incidence of smartphone snatching in different parts of the country. The term “Apple Picking”, referring to such phone snatching incidents, arose from these growing number of cases, some of which even resulted in death or serious injuries to owners. In February this year, Today News reported how thieves choose their targets for phone snatching, usually looking for older people who can’t resist or catch the snatcher. But younger ones also get targeted; the thieves act quickly and skillfully, mostly snatching phones while wheezing on a bike by a pedestrian holding a smartphone. Apple Picking also takes place at other public places like public bathrooms and coffee shops etc.
One significant point for consumers to remember is that owners may lose access to their own smartphone if they don’t use it carefully. The Activation Lock feature can, in such a case, work against the owner. Smartphone owners need to familiarize themselves with preventive ways against losing access to their smart device.
The innovation of Activation Lock is certainly of value to both manufacturers and consumers. Manufacturers can now better market their smartphones with the new security feature that will discourage Smartphone picking. The consumers can be more confident of using their smartphones in places away from tight security. But it won’t perhaps take the phone pickers long to learn of the Activation Lock, and since innovation is not the manufacturer’s hegemony, those thriving on phone picking will likely come up with some of their own tactics to get around the security feature. So the race continues.