If you’ve ever been in an Apple store that's really crowded - and most of them usually are - you’ll probably know how annoying it can be when trying out a tethered iPhone. The security measure may stop the devices from being stolen, but it also means people crowding around you, not being able to get a feel for the handset, and not finding out how well it fits in your pocket. But things are about to change.
In a recent CNET report by Katie Collins on Apple’s flagship London Regent Street store, it was revealed that no security tethers would be used to secure the products on show. A small number of other stores across the UK and Canada are also in the process of removing the cords.
The company tried this in its stores a few years ago, but an increase in thefts saw the tethers return. But the new system means that even if anyone does manage to sneak one of the handsets out of the store without staff or the hidden CCTV cameras noticing, it would be unusable.
9to5Mac reports that the demo phones have a ‘kill-switch’ that disables them when they go out of range of the store’s Wi-Fi.
The iPhone will reset when the device is powered off and then plugged in. When removed from the Apple Store, the stolen iPhone can’t do anything but ring for Find My iPhone until the battery dies. The iPhones are also Activation Locked using iCloud as a deterrent just like customer iPhones.
Other Apple products such as iPads and MacBooks will continue to be tethered to the desks, as these larger devices benefit from testing on a stable surface.
Apple hasn’t commented on the new scheme, or whether there are any plans for bringing it to the US. But you can expect it to arrive in the states if it proves successful elsewhere.