- Bad people do a bad thing in San Bernardino.
- FBI retrieves an iPhone from the scene of bad things.
- They know exactly how to get the information from that phone from day one (see Edward Snowden for more on that)
- Apple pushes back against the government strong-arm tactics, stands up for privacy laws and civil liberties, takes plenty of flak in the process (esp from the Make Murica Great Again mouthbreather end of the political spectrum, all in an election year).
- Suddenly and mysteriously the FBI manages to "find a way" of getting the access it needs to this one physical phone in its possession. From a "third party". Legal case against Apple goes away.
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I'm guessing it works like this:
I won't be buying an iPhone next time because I feel paranoid about my own data security. Or because Foxconn treats its workers like queens and kings. I will be buying one to say thank you to Tim Cook and his team for standing up to the US government's bullyboy tactics and keeping us a step further away from creeping police state. For a while longer, at least. I've heard they make good phones, too.