Apple is working on a system to update iPhones in stores without opening the boxes
When reading about a new phone's launch, you may have come across a sentence like "the iPhone 15 ships with iOS 17 out of the box". Well, Apple wants to change that, by developing a system to update new phones that are still in sealed boxes.
That is what Mark Gurman said in his latest PowerOn newsletter. So how is this going to work?
The Bloomberg journalist says that Apple has developed a proprietary pad-like device, on which stores can place boxes of iPhones on. This device will switch on the iPhones wirelessly, and install the latest software updates for the device, and power the phone down. There aren't more details about how it works. It is quite remarkable that a brand-new, sealed phone can be updated in such a way.
This is a niche improvement, one that is unlikely to impress many users. But I think this might be a good idea. For one, it could save precious time, and offer a better out-of-the-box experience. Let's say you buy a new iPhone, you go home, boot it up and connect to the Wi-Fi to log in to your Apple ID. And then you get a prompt about an iOS update, and you're probably going to just plug the phone to the charger and walk away while it finishes installing the update.
On the other hand, if the operating system is already up-to-date, you may use the device for longer immediately, for example, to install your favorite apps, or even jump into video calls right away. There is another advantage to having the latest software on your new device, remember the recent overheating issues that were reported by iPhone 15 users? Those issues were fixed in the iOS 17.0.3 update. There was also the instance of iPhones being stuck on the Apple logo, which was caused by an issue with the backup / restore system. This bug was patched in iOS 17.0.2, but iPhones had to be updated to a specific version before the process was triggered. If a new phone came with the latest version out of the box, you may not even run into such critical bugs.
And not everyone is tech-savvy, some might get annoyed that their new phone is asking them to install something as soon as they started it, in this case an iOS update, while others may not be aware of what to do. Many customers who buy iPhones at a store, often ask the store's employees to help them set up their device. An up-to-date software can shave off several minutes during the set-up process, and help the employee finish their task more efficiently.
Now, there have been questions about the feature opening up possible attack vectors. While these concerns are valid, it should also be noted that iOS versions are digitally signed by Apple and the devices communicate with the company's servers to verify them, so the probability of sideloading an unsigned package (read malware) is likely very low. It all depends on the workflow, in this case, the Setup Assistant, which is likely used to manage the updates.
Apple is expected to roll out its wireless pad-like device to its stores before the end of the year, so the next time you buy an iPhone, it could already be running on the latest software.Advertisement