The leading question asked by both Daring Fireball and at Loop Insight is why was Apple asked about their fingerprint scanner while Samsung got a pass? The implication is that, somehow, the American senate is showing preferential treatment to a South Korean company over an apple pie, fourth of July, 100% American company. Or, perhaps, that lawmakers are grandstanding to make a show of how they’re on top of things.
The argument is that this kind of questioning is unfair to Apple and I disagree. This is the level of scrutiny that we’d hope governments gave to all our industries, all our corporations. Not intervention or direction, but putting in the work to try to understand what is going on. We can debate the reasons that Apple is questioned but, ultimately, the answer is simple.
Apple is held to a higher standard of conduct. They’ve spent years, countless hours of hard work and untold advertising dollars to earn that expectation. They have it. When location data or fingerprints, both incredibly obviously hot topics, need to be explained it is Apple that is put in the hot seat. Because they are expected to meet our highest standards.
While Samsung may be shipping a fingerprint scanning technology that isn’t as secure as the one Apple has doesn’t mean Samsung is getting a free pass. It means that they asked the experts, Apple, and they got an answer. So hearing, “fingerprint scanning” doesn’t set off the fire alarms anymore.
Apple is now in a position where it sets the conversation. It has a canny ability to use that advantageously. Sometimes, it bites them.
It will be time to start worrying about Apple when you stop seeing them pilloried.