iPhone 5 will be Revolutionary, but will it be secure?

Simon Drew *, Marketing Executive shares with us what iPhone 5 will be like. The iPhone 5 is due to be launched by Apple at a special ev...

Simon Drew*, Marketing Executive shares with us what iPhone 5 will be like.

The iPhone 5 is due to be launched by Apple at a special event on September 12th. The sixth generation iPhone, which will be launched alongside a smaller 7 inch iPad, will make some of the most dramatic changes to the phone series since it first appeared in 2007.

As has been revealed by various leaked images, designs and comments made by "unnamed sources" who supposedly know what they are talking about, the iPhone 5 will be the first iPhone to come with a screen larger than 3.5 inches. Apple has stuck with the same screen size while the rest of the industry has been getting larger and larger and now the company has succumbed to popular demand.

While nowhere near as large as some Android "phablets" such as the Galaxy Note, the 4 inch screen on the iPhone 5 will make it noticeably larger and more elongated than earlier models. It remains to be seen how this will affect existing apps on the App Store, and whether it will result in an unsightly "letterbox mode" with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, but the new display size will make the iPhone 5 ideal for widescreen videos.

Another major change in the pipeline relates to the iPhone dock connector. Existing iPhones have all used the same proprietary Apple dock connector, but this is soon to be replaced by a much smaller and more efficient dock connector for future iOS devices. The incompatibility that this will cause with existing accessories may be circumvented by Apple releasing a special adaptor.

The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S both used the smaller Micro SIM card design and it looks likely that Apple will yet again pioneer a new SIM card technology. The iPhone 5 is due to be the first phone to make use of the new ETSI approved Nano SIM card design, which is 40% smaller than the SIM cards used in the iPhone 4 and 4S.

The iPhone 5 also looks set to become the best smartphone for using social networks. iOS already features Twitter integration, and iOS 6 is due to be integrated with Facebook too. This will allow content to be shared right from the iPhone, apps and music to be liked from within iTunes and the App Store, and Facebook status updates to be posted directly from the Notification Center.

While all of these features are extremely tantalising, and people will no doubt enjoy using them, one of the main things that people are concerned about today is mobile security. In fact, one of the main reasons that Apple has not rushed into included NFC support for the iPhone is concerns about the technology's security regarding personal data.

This weekend a French mobile security expert revealed that he had uncovered a major security flaw in the way that the iPhone handles SMS messages. When an SMS message is sent, it includes data that is not usually visible to the sender or the receiver. This information is contained within something called the "User Data Header".

One piece of information that is included within the header is the "reply-to" address. The iPhone's operating system, iOS, uses this bit of information to determine the source of an SMS message rather than the raw source. This would allow someone to edit an outbound SMS message so that it would appear to come from some other source, and the vulnerability has the potential to be the basis for all sorts of phishing scams.

Rather worryingly, this security flaw is present in all versions of iOS, including the most recent iOS 6 beta for the iPhone 5. Apple has since issued a statement claiming that the flaw does not affect iMessage and so iPhone users should simply use this instead. The company has not confirmed whether it has plans to patch the flaw for existing SMS services.

This begs the question: if this vulnerability is present in the latest version of iOS, what other security flaws may be present in the iPhone 5? It will most likely be the most advanced smartphone on the planet when it is released in September but this doesn't mean that users should suspend their critical judgement when responding to odd text messages, even if they appear to be from a close acquaintance. iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 are still in development, so Apple still has time to fix these vulnerabilities before the phone goes on sale.

The iPhone 5 will be unveiled on September 12th and be available to purchase on September 21st.

About the author: Simon is a writer of Best Mobile Contracts, a leading UK mobile phone comparison website and source of iPhone related news and rumours.

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Chiprang-Blogging, Technology and Lifestyle Blog: iPhone 5 will be Revolutionary, but will it be secure?
iPhone 5 will be Revolutionary, but will it be secure?
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