Even though it was originally believed that iPhones might not be affected by the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities discovered in Intel, AMD, and ARM chips, it looks like Apple’s devices might be exposed as well, though a confirmation in this regard hasn’t been offered just yet.
An advisory published by ARM earlier today indicates that several of its processors are suffering from the same vulnerability like Intel’s chips, including several models whose technology was used for Apple’s own A-series chips.
Affected Apple devices
Based on ARM architecture, a number of chips powering iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple TV models could also be impacted. As 9to5mac notes, the Cortex A8 chip, which ARM confirmed to suffer from the said vulnerabilities, was used for the development of the A4 processor used on the first-generation iPad and iPhone 4, iPod Touch (4th gen), and Apple TV (2nd gen).
Additionally, ARM also said Cortex A9 processors are vulnerable, which means devices powered by Apple’s A5 chip aren’t secure either, and these include Pad 2, iPad mini (1st gen), iPhone 4S, Apple TV (3rd gen) and iPod Touch (5th gen). And last but not least, the Cortex A15, which is the last model on the list of affected chips, powers the A6 Apple processor used on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C.
The list of Apple devices that might be impacted by the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities might be the following, though it’s worth mentioning that there’s still no confirmation in this regard and further models could be affected as well.
|iPhone 4||iPhone 4S|
|iPhone 5||iPhone 5C|
|iPad (1st gen)||iPad 2|
|iPad (3rd gen)||Apple TV (2nd gen)|
|Apple TV (3rd gen)||iPod Touch (4th gen)|
|iPod Touch (5th gen)|
The worst thing isn’t necessarily Apple devices being exposed to attacks because Cupertino is likely to ship an emergency patch as soon as possible, but the fact that updates are expected to generate a performance slowdown. At this point, it’s difficult to anticipate the performance impact of such an update, but Apple should provide more information in this regard very soon.