While Intel, Google, ARM, and Microsoft rushed to issue both public statements and patches addressing the Meltdown and Spectre processor security exploits, Apple took the opposite tack, waiting more than a day to quietly downplay the gigantic story using a tech support document, without a corresponding press release or public statement. In short, the number of affected Apple products is huge, and the company doesn’t yet have fixes ready for all of them, but it’s working on them — there’s no need to worry.
The particularly bad news for Apple and its users: “All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected,” according to the support document. This stunningly broad admission erases any ambiguity as to whether Apple’s custom-designed A-series chips and more recent products were protected — they were not. Worse: tvOS devices* running on Apple-designed chips also appear to be affected, though with varied vulnerabilities.
On the other hand, Apple was ahead of its rivals in saying that “there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time.” Apple has already patched its iOS, macOS, and tvOS operating systems against Meltdown, which means that any device running iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, or tvOS 11.2 was partially protected before most people knew there were issues worthy of concern. Additionally, Apple plans to patch its Safari browser “in the coming days” to address Spectre, suggesting complete fixes for current macOS and iOS devices aren’t far off.
Unfortunately, there are tens if not hundreds of millions of older Apple devices in the marketplace that can’t run Apple’s…