Could ‘Error 53’ signal bad omens for Apple?
Apple Inc (AAPL: NASDAQ) is against the ropes, and the latest technological furore is unlikely to help the company restore its once impermeable image. Just recently, Apple and Alphabet were going toe to toe in a battle for tech market dominance. Alphabet Inc (GOOGL: NASDAQ) posted strong Q4 earnings for 2015, based largely on the performance of its cash cow Google. Apple, by contrast, has been plagued by the poor performance of its latest product line in the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6S. Slumping sales figures at Apple have executives and stockholders deeply concerned, and this is being reflected in the share price of the world’s most valuable technology company.
Apple is currently trading at $94.02 per share with a market capitalisation of $521.30 billion. The company has a price/earnings ratio of 10.01 and an earnings per share of 9.40. The stock’s dividend and yield are 2.08 (+2.15%). The 1-year target estimate price for Apple is $136.25, and the next earnings date is slated for release on the 25th – 29th of April 2016.
The general consensus among analysts for buying or selling Apple stocks is based upon a host of factors, including the opinions of research firms upgrading/downgrading their perception of Apple. The mean recommendation for this week for Apple comes in at 1.8, with 1.0 representing a strong buy and a 5.0 on the opposite end of the spectrum representing a sell.
The high price target for Apple stock is $200 per share and the low is $102 – significantly higher than the current price of Apple stock. In 2016, there have been three notable upgrade/downgrades of the company, starting with the January 6 downgrade by Rosenblatt from a ‘buy’ to a ‘neutral’ rating.
On 11 January, Mizuho upgraded its rating on Apple from ‘neutral’ to ‘buy’, and on 12 January, Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded its rating on Apple from ‘neutral’ to ‘buy’. Based on the overall consensus of analysts and research firms, Apple appears to be a strong buy, but there are serious concerns dogging this technology stock.
The Error 53 dilemma is impacting upon thousands of iPhone 6S and iPhone 6 users worldwide. What happens with this error message is that phones are rendered defunct – effectively unable to be used since the security protocols are deemed to be breached and the phone is shut down. The latest iOS for Apple iPhones has a built-in security feature capable of shutting down the phones once a repair has been undertaken by somebody not contracted with Apple Inc. Up until recently, the Error 53 message has been a great mystery to those not in the know. Now, however, the story has gained mass circulation and Apple executives, stockholders and customers are scrambling for a fix.
Various journalists who have been reviewed on this topic have intimated that the Error 53 message is capable of killing all functionality on your iPhone.
The technological glitch is significant in that it is associated with the world’s most valuable technology company in Apple. Handsets which utilise touch ID fingerprints as part of the recognition software are the ones that are being affected the most. If repairs have been made by tech gurus not associated with Apple and customers have downloaded iOS 9 version software, the problem arises. Customers are complaining of mass data loss, lack of functionality and what effectively amounts to a defunct iPhone.
The issue is becoming an ethical nightmare for Apple, since customers are loath to take these expensive devices exclusively to Apple dealers for tech repairs. The issue is particularly notable since the cost of repairing the home button of a typical iPhone 6 in the United Kingdom can run as high as GBP 236.
This is precisely why tech experts not affiliated with Apple are being approached to remedy these problems, but the latest iOS software downloads are identifying repairs not performed by Apple experts and then shutting down the phones accordingly. Any indication of third-party software or components installed on the phone will result in an immediate Error 53 message.
Apple has consistently maintained that the only tech experts to make modifications or repairs to iPhones must be company affiliated individuals.
To make matters worse, company representatives, tech experts and sales people have insisted that the only solution to this problem is the purchase of a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S. Company representatives maintain that the fingerprint protection mechanism used by Apple is conjoined with the touch ID within the phone. Only company-affiliated technicians have the ability to validate that connection; third parties cannot.
This pairing between the touch ID and the fingerprint data is intricately connected to other security mechanism such as Apple Pay and this is precisely why Apple will immediately and automatically block any iPhones that have not been repaired by its own personnel.
However the Error 53 message which is being experienced by Apple users is nothing new; it has been circulating for several months, but has only gained prominence now that big news sites have broken the story.
Apple has not been completely upfront with its clientele about the risks that they run by getting repairs done to their phones by non-Apple authorised personnel. By taking your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to be repaired by third-party providers you effectively run the risk of rendering your device defunct.
It is incumbent upon Apple users to read the fine print associated with the purchase of all Apple products to understand that Apple is well within its rights to shut down the functionality of smartphones, smartwatches and other Apple devices that are serviced by third-party providers. To date, the issue has largely been restricted to handsets which utilize a home button and a touch ID fingerprint.
In industry lingo, Apple Inc is effectively causing handsets and other Apple devices to be ‘bricked’ which is parlance for rendered null and void. More important is the fact that all data stored on the smartphone or device will be irretrievably lost or damaged.
Apple CEO Tim Cook made his case that any tampering with Apple’s security especially with biometric data would result in a shutdown of the product. It is interesting to point out that the only time the error will be noticed is when the most recent update of IOS software has been completed. But Apple has made it clear that the purchase of an iPhone is but one of many purchases that Apple owners will be required to make with the product. And at a hefty price tag of $250 per repair, people are now thinking twice about buying Apple products: Apple is effectively saying to its customers: When you buy from us, we own you for the lifetime of your product!