In its legal filing with a federal court in California, Apple told the court that its encryption "is designed to prevent anyone without the password from accessing encrypted data on iPhones."
And, Apple wrote, if someone tried to get the password by multiple "brute-force" attempts, the encrypted data would be automatically deleted by iOS8 and higher operating systems after 10 incorrect attempts to enter the password.
Thanks to the help of an "outside party," however, the FBI has accessed the data on shooter Rizwan Farook's iPhone for its criminal investigation into the San Bernardino attack.
There are three winners here. First, the Justice Department, which now has the knowledge to unlock iPhones without having risked an adverse legal ruling and precedent.
Second, Apple, which does not have to involuntarily assist the FBI by creating a back door to encrypted data on its iPhones.
And third — and most ominously — hackers around the world, who have renewed and confirmed the incentives to unlock Apple iPhones knowing that it can be done.