Bisson writes, “With a virtualisation-ready processor in its new phone, Apple can now start to move iOS in the direction of a hypervisor-controlled sandbox environment… Here the operating system component of a VM is tailored to the application it is hosting – minimising the attack surface of each secure partition. Combined with a fingerprint sensor to identify users, Apple has the tools it needs to deliver biometric access control, allowing devices to support multiple users, with files and apps for one user hidden from another using hardware encryption.”
“Controlling its own silicon gives Apple a distinct competitive advantage,” Bisson writes. “Whatever Apple is planning with the A7, don’t expect to see any real benefits until iOS 8, if then. What the iPhone 5s (and any future A7-based iPads) is, is a ‘get the hardware out there’ play. Apple needs a critical mass of virtualisation-ready iDevices before it makes any significant changes to the OS… And further in to that future? As ARMv8 can be used to build ‘desktop-grade’ processors, could we see Apple stepping back from Intel to its own ARM-based Macintosh hardware? It’s certainly easier to use ARMv8 to emulate x86, and x64, instructions, so Apple could deliver an ARM OS X that could run existing code in a VM, with new ARM compiled code running in its own sandboxes. And that could be a very, very interesting tomorrow.”
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