In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Apple is suspending sales of all its products in Russia and restricting Russian apps:
The company said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” about the Russian invasion and in response had “suspended all product sales” in the country. Apple also said it has decided to limit access to digital services, such as Apple Pay, inside Russia, and to restrict the availability of Russian state media apps outside the country.
“Last week, we stopped all exports to our sales channel in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been restricted. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside of Russia,” Apple said. “And we have disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens” [Brian Fung, “Apple Suspends All Product Sales in Russia,” CNN, 2022.03.01].
It’s not yet known if Apple will take the extra step of disabling all existing iPhones and Macbooks in Russia, but imagine the chaos they could create with a small software update.
In response, Paul Erickson’s The Spy Who Loved Me, now Russian State Duma Deputy Maria Butina, is peddle an iphone replacement for loyal Russians, the Russian military-funded AYYA-T1 smartphone from Russian state-owned company Rostec:
At the price quoted by Butina of 15,000 rubles and the current exchange rate of 114 rubles to the dollar, you could pick up this portable monument of socialism and imperialism for $132. A November 2021 report lists these specs:
The device comes with Helio P70 octa-core processor, 6.5-inch display with 60Hz refresh rate, 4/64GB memory layout, 12 and 5 MP digitally stabilized cameras and a 4000 mAh battery with fast charging. There is also support for NFC and a fingerprint reader. The most interesting thing about the AYYA T1 smartphone is its operating system based on Jolla’s Sailfish. Smartecosystem uses Aurora OS developed by Jolla for the Russian government in 2019, but they said they are also testing an operating system developed by Kaspersky Labs [“Russian AYYA T1 Based on Aurora OS Has Physical Button Against Wiretapping,” NokiaMob.net, 2021.11.13].
OK, when a Russian spy tells you that a Russian phone funded by the Russian military has a button to prevent wiretapping, don’t believe him and don’t press that button!