Technology

What's Up With Apple: Today's the Day, Another Pegasus Patch, and More

After weeks (at least), of speculation, we are at the very brink of finding out what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has added or left out to its lineup of new iPhones, Apple Watch, and maybe some other products. Anticipating the event, dubbed California Streaming, Apple stock added about 0.4% to its share price on Monday and traded up in Tuesday’s premarket session by a similar amount.

On one hand, the higher share price indicates that investors have decided that the court ruling issued last Friday in Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple will not have a hugely negative impact on the stock price. On the other hand, it probably indicates that the bulk of the expected good news coming out of today’s event already has been priced in and that, barring some significant and unexpected announcement, the share price is unlikely to move higher later Tuesday. Of course, we could be wrong.

Apple issued an emergency security patch Monday to fix another zero-day, zero-click vulnerability in the iPhone and iPad operating systems. The patch, designated iOS 14.8 for the iPhone and iPadOS 14.8 for the iPad, exploited a flaw in iMessage that allowed spyware from Israel-based NSO Group to be downloaded to a user’s iPhone without the user clicking a link or opening a file (thus, zero-click). Zero-day means that Apple had no window to roll out a fix before the spyware could begin its nefarious work.

Toronto-based Citizen Lab discovered the flaw, designated as Forcedentry, and reported it to Apple on September 7. Apple’s patch was released on September 13. Citizen Lab reported the first instance of the malware last December, and Apple rolled out a fix in February. Citizen Lab reported another attack late last month.

Apple’s security chief, Ivan Kristić, commented:

After identifying the vulnerability used by this exploit for iMessage, Apple rapidly developed and deployed a fix in iOS 14.8 to protect our users. We’d like to commend Citizen Lab for successfully completing the very difficult work of obtaining a sample of this exploit so we could develop this fix quickly. Attacks like the ones described are highly sophisticated, cost millions of dollars to develop, often have a short shelf life, and are used to target specific individuals. While that means they are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users, we continue to work tirelessly to defend all our customers, and we are constantly adding new protections for their devices and data.

Now that the iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 and third-generation AirPods are on their way, Apple watchers can turn their attention to announcements for new Macs. MacRumors thinks more new products will be introduced in connection with Apple’s back-to-school promotion, currently set to end on September 27 in the United States and on October 11 in Europe. A date after the end of the promotion in Europe is more likely.