An on-going issue received some press during the iPhone 5 debut—theft of cellular phones. Thieves have already figured out how to steal them, and also learned to turn off the iPhone (or take out the SIM card) as they run down the street so the handset can't be tracked by Find My Phone. You may recall that the FCC intervened, and is requiring wireless carriers to create a unified stolen handset database (the project is moving slowly). But meanwhile, Apple has not taken any steps to assist in reducing the incentive for thefts, including making some tweaks to its Genius Bar software applications to allow any measure of stolen iPhone tracking (or even alerting). In the meantime, the New York City Police Department has taken matters into their own hands, and now offers to register handsets with the agency, allowing them to quickly determine an owner. NYPD crime prevention officers showed up at the Apple retail stores on Sept. 21st for the iPhone 5 debut, walking the waiting lines and seeking participants in the registration program. I continue to believe that Apple shouldn't participate in law enforcement. However, there has to be a method of documenting product owner claims of a theft, and of withholding support to anyone else who presents the product for service. There could be additional steps that Apple could take to plug some holes in handling products at the Genius Bar.
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