It wasn’t exactly one of the blockbuster “one more thing” announcements Apple media events are known for, but Apple did wrap up its WWDC keynote with an important security announcement.
Finishing up several demos and descriptions of new features in iOS 7, the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system for iPad and iPhone, Apple’s Craig Federighi, said the new OS will also feature an additional deterrent to would be thieves.
“Now with the activation lock, if a thief tries to turn off ‘Find my iPhone’ or wipe the device, they will not be able to reactive it because they don’t know your iCloud user name,” said Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering at Apple.
“We think this will be a powerful theft deterrent.”
Apple and other device makers have been criticized for not giving smartphone and tablet users more anti-theft protection.
Between January 1 and September 23, 2012, a total of 11,447 cases of stolen “iDevices” (iPhones and other iOS devices) were reported to the New York City Police Department, a rise of 3,280 over 2011.
New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, has been actively lobbying Apple, Samsung and Google to do more to protect these devices from being stolen, which in many cases has also involved people being attacked as part of the robbery.