Daily Cuppa: Hacking the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 and NFC

How much does the iPhone 5 cost to make? And how many is Apple going to sell this launch weekend? Those and other big stories in this Daily Cuppa catch-up.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Just another day until the iPhone 5 comes out, and while we already know what it's going to cost us, how much does it cost Apple to make?

A 16GB iPhone 5 is estimated to cost US$199, and an additional US$8 to manufacture. Most of that goes into the touch screen display and the 4G LTE hardware, which makes each new iPhone about US$11 more expensive than the previous equivalent model.

On the software side of the phone, a group of Dutch security researchers have already figured out how to break into iOS 6. They wanted to see how long it would take to break into an iPhone 4S without using previously discovered vulnerabilities. It took them three weeks, using only their own private time and by using only a single zero-day vulnerability. The new iPhone 5 will also be vulnerable to the attack.

Before Android fans stick it to Apple users, however, another team from the UK has shown how a Samsung Galaxy S3 can be hacked. Compromising the phone required two zero-day vulnerabilities and doesn't affect Android Jelly Bean 4.1, but the interesting part about the hack is that it used near-field communications (NFC) to beam the exploit on to the phone.

Security researchers aren't the only ones looking at NFC and its potential vulnerabilities. Researchers at the US National Science Foundation are working to augment payments made using NFC with audio snippets, to ensure that the buyer is actually there at the time of transaction. It would mean that payments made with a digital wallet would require internet access (they currently do not with Google Wallet), since the audio captured by the device would need to somehow be sent to a verifier at the time of transaction, but it has an excellent accuracy record and offers more protection than what's available today.

And as we go back to waiting for the iPhone 5, it looks like the number of devices the company will sell this weekend is somewhere between six and 10 million. Last year, the company sold about 4 million iPhone 4S handsets in its launch weekend, and a quarter of those were from pre-orders. So far, Apple has 2 million pre-orders for the iPhone 5, so it might just reach those figures.

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