I am often asked why Apple devices, per feature, are so much more expensive than their Android counterparts. My quick answer is, "Because they are worth it". There are a number of reasons why but the first and foremost is security. One of the biggest challenges for Google is having so many device manufacturers making their actual devices. Here is a partial list of Android manufacturers...
HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, BLU, Lenovo, BlackBerry, ASUS and One Plus. Now compare this to Apple who is the only one making devices that support their iOS operating system.
When it becomes known that hackers have compromised their iOS or devices, Apple will quickly push out an over the air "patch" and you are notified that there is a software update that needs to be done. You simply click on the upgrade and do it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with Android. With a dozen device makers and a half dozen or more versions of Android's operating system, this process becomes much more complex. Sometimes, it seems that there is some finger pointing going on between Google and the device manufacturer as far as who's responsibility it is for the patch. In any case, Google does not usually react as quickly, if at all regarding these problems.
That is exactly the case with the latest breach of Android devices. According to CheckPoint, an Israeli Cyber Security Company that specializes in this stuff, Nearly a billion Android phones and tablets are vulnerable to malware that could allow hackers “complete control of devices and access to sensitive personal and enterprise data on them,” according to Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point. In this case, CheckPoint has determined that the vulnerabilities are in QUALCOMM'S chipset’s software drivers – the basic operating system-level programs that provide usability to the chipsets – which control communication between the chipset components. That means this is a device issue with the manufacturer of the chipset, Qualcomm. While Google and Qualcomm argue who is responsible for providing a fix, there customers are left exposed. Apple's benefit of being able to fully regulate and fully control all software as well as hardware issues is huge when it comes to quickly overcoming security issues. A perfect example of this is Apple pushed out iOS 9.3.3 in mid July to address an issue of security. Apparently, there was a flaw in the previous version that allowed hackers to take remote control of your iPhone if you downloaded a specific photo laced with malware. As soon as this became a known issue, Apple fixed it with a patch. Just today, about three weeks later, Apple just released another software update patch. This one is called iOS 9.3.4. Apple states that it is a security issue fix but is not explaining the details. Rumor has it that this patch was designed to frustrate several companies (Pangu and TaiG) that succesfully provided "iPhone Jail Break" solutions. All iPhones from the 4S and beyond and iPads from the iPad 2 and newer are eligible for this fix.
Whether you use iOS, Android, or Windows, it is vital to keep up with software upgrades. These upgrades fix previous vulnerabilities. If you do not do these upgrades regularly, your computers will be at risk. On the other hand, it is not a great idea to immediately download everything that your device manufacturer or OS provider pushes out. I always recommend waiting a week or so and doing a Google search on the new patch to verify that it is not causing any additional problems. If you see dozens of complaints for the same thing, don't do it yet. Sometimes, contacts will disappear or other weirdness occurs.
August 9, 2016 Update from our friends at Forbes...
Apple iOS 9.3.4 Install Verdict: Only Upgrade If You Do Not Jailbreak
iOS 9.3.4 comes somewhat out of the blue and appears to be solely about patching Pangu’s recent jailbreak. If so, I believe this may be the first time Apple has updated iOS solely for this purpose and it shows how focused the company is only stamping down on an activity it used to begrudgingly tolerate for many years. As such if you don’t jailbreak your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch there’s little reason to avoid iOS 9.3.4. Especially as the potential exists for less benevolent hackers to exploit iOS 9.3.3 in the same way Pangu did.
That aside there are a couple of issues with reports regarding battery widget problems so, if this widget is important to you, steer clear for now as it is likely to be the last iOS update owners of the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad 3 and iPod 5th gen will receive.
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.