China denies iPhone ban but notes device’s security issues

Just hours after Apple wrapped up its annual product launch for the hotly anticipated iPhone 15, the Chinese authorities denied experiences that it had banned officers from utilizing the smartphones — after which famous latest “security incidents” involving the gadgets.

“China has not issued any legislation, regulations or policy documents prohibiting the purchase and use of Apple’s foreign-brand phones. However, we have indeed noticed many recent media reports exposing security incidents related to Apple phones,” Mao Ning, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated on Wednesday.

Mao didn’t elaborate on whether or not the “incidents” in query had been well-reported latest security vulnerabilities from out-of-date software program or a doubtlessly extra critical Chinese authorities concern concerning the security of the gadgets.

Make sure you download the latest iPhone security update

But the obscure remark is prone to feed a wave of concern about Apple’s relationship with China, which producers most of its iPhones — and the place, by some estimates, it now sells extra of the telephones than within the United States.

News final week of a possible iPhone ban for Chinese authorities staff knocked $200 billion off the corporate’s worth in two days.

In conferences and personal discussion groups, superiors at Chinese central authorities companies advised officers to not convey iPhones or different foreign-branded gadgets into work, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing folks conversant in the matter.

The reported choice to widen already present restrictions on the usage of foreign-made expertise in some authorities departments comes because the Chinese Communist Party has urged Chinese expertise giants to maintain tempo with worldwide leaders like Apple.

Beneath the drive to turn into a pacesetter within the applied sciences of the longer term is Beijing’s want to be self-sufficient in essential applied sciences like microchips, as a result of it sees a tightening chokehold on Chinese entry by United States and its allies as a grave menace to China’s rise and nationwide security.

And that politically charged standoff is more and more enjoying out in on a regular basis client expertise as nicely.

Earlier this month, whereas Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was visiting the nation, Chinese expertise large Huawei launched its latest smartphone with a sophisticated — and reportedly Chinese-made — chip.

Claims of a sooner-than-expected breakthrough had been hailed in China as proof that U.S. sanctions had failed to carry the corporate again, and native media turned Raimondo into an unwitting brand ambassador for the system.

For some on Chinese social media, Apple’s annual product launch on Tuesday night in California was one other alternative to reward their house champion.

During a live-stream of the occasion, and beneath CEO Tim Cook’s publish concerning the iPhone 15 on microblog Weibo, many commented “far, far ahead” — a phrase typically used to indicate assist for Huawei after the corporate used it 14 instances in a 2020 presentation.

Chinese memes make U.S. envoy unwitting brand ambassador for new Huawei phone

A Chinese authorities marketing campaign to query the protection of Apple gadgets may very well be a critical blow to a relationship with China that the corporate has rigorously constructed over a long time.

The danger of Apples overreliance on Chinese factories has already been underscored lately by worker exoduses through the nation’s unpredictable coronavirus lockdowns and human rights group accusations of suppliers counting on Uyghur compelled labor.

The obvious squeeze on Apple comes as China has more and more cited nationwide security issues to investigate or prohibit the operations of international firms within the nation.

But the Economic Observer, a Chinese newspaper, raised one other potential — and in reality reverse — concern for the Communist Party: Its highly effective graft-busters are unable to unlock the iPhones of suspects caught in high chief Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption marketing campaign.

“This is a problem we often encounter,” an unnamed official for the Beijing Discipline and Supervision Bureau, a robust graft-fighting company, advised the newspaper. “We have software to unlock other mobile phones without passwords, including some software from Russia. Only Apple phones can’t be unlocked. So this is also a reason officials cannot use Apple phones.”

Pei-Lin Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

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