While one can admire Apple for ‘defending’ it’s customers privacy, while also benefiting with the positive advertising. It is probably a moot, and hollow victory as the NSA and the CIA have already broken Apple security.
Not that it shouldn’t be of high importance, the resources required to do the cracking of any particular extraction of an encrypted message sent with a iPhone would most likely exceed the budget of a small country. Which is exactly the point of encryption, making it hard, and expensive to decrypt. Imagine the joviality at the NSA/CIA after the hours of decryption, that the ‘Important’ message turns out to be a high priority, top secret Cookie Recipe from you mothers cookbook.
And thereby is the unspoken truth of encryption the first one is this: you must either decrypt everything, to find what is being said, because if you can only choose strategic messages, choosing the right ones are tantamount.
During WWII monitoring enemy communication was aided by observing the frequency of communication traffic, when frequency increased, something important was being communicated. Modern military communications is continuous and unbroken, transmitting meaningless message traffic, and therefore not highlighting any particular message in the traffic stream that would be required to be decrypted. This would now be a requirement to decrypt everything, in the military traffic stream.
The second Truth is this; The assumption that you can decrypt all the messages is the hight of arrogance and ignorance. Anyone, yes anyone can create an encryption that will be impossible for a machine of any sort to decrypt, and many of these can be hidden to the point that even a human expert directly observing the message can not decipher.
Imagine hiding messages in the continuous email stream called Spam, which now constitutes more that 80% of all email traffic?
Thoughts like this keep the NSA/CIA/FBI up nights, and no matter what Bull Shit they might tell you about the need to have back doors and encryption keys it will NEVER catch all the potential secret messages that terrorists might choose to pass to each other.
Because the simplest of truths: It isn’t possible.
UPDATE: and now the E.U. politicians are talking about it. European Officials To Discuss Anti-Encryption Measures.