We have a responsibility to protect your data: Apple’s Tim Cook

San Francisco, March 21 (IANS) Apple CEO Tim Cook, referring to the ongoing battle with the US government over encryption to unlock an iPhone used by an attacker in a mass shooting in San Bernadino last year, on Monday reiterated the company’s commitment to protect its users’ data and privacy.

Addressing a packed auditorium at its Cupertino, California-based headquarters, Cook said: “We have a responsibility to help you protect your data and your privacy. We will not shrink from this responsibility.”

“We built the iPhone for you, our customers, and for many of us it is a deeply personal device,” he told the gathering during a special launch event.

The company also revealed that it fully runs on renewable energy in 23 countries.

According to the Guardian live coverage, Apple has built a machine called Liam that can deconstruct an iPhone into its components to recover high quality materials and reintroduce them into the supply chain.

“For example, the silver from the motherboard can be used in solar panels. Eventually, Apple wants to recycle the parts into new iPhones,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, at the event.

“Take your old product into an Apple store or visit its website and post it to the company,” she added.

The company was set to unveil a new range of products – including a smaller and cheaper 4-inch iPhone SE as reported by the media – during the event.

The announcement is aimed at making further inroads into the emerging markets like India — that has a huge smartphone base of 160 million plus users and is likely to surpass the US smartphone user base in a couple of years — and China.

The iPhone SE is reported to be a replacement for the iPhone 5s series. Leaked photos suggest that the device will be similar to iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

According to media reports, Apple was also set to unveil a new iPad Pro with features like detachable keyboard and stylus specially designed for business use.

“Apple routinely schedules product events in March and September, so the juxtaposition of a product premiere on Monday to a high-profile court date is coincidental,” a USA Today report said.

Apple is expected to appear in a federal court in California on March 22 to fight the order and has accused the US Department of Justice of trying to “smear” the company with “desperate” and “unsubstantiated” claims.

The US government has been fighting Apple over access to information on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers, Rizwan Farook, in December. Apple says the demands violate the company’s rights and has argued that the government is asking for a “back door” that could be exploited by the government and criminals.

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