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Why does Tun Dr Mahathir use an iPhone?

If you watched the highlight video of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s working visit to China, you’ll definitely notice that he is using an iPhone. That got us wondering, what iPhone model is he using and why is the iPhone his preferred tool for communication? Here’s what we think.

Ease of use

Image: Bernama

At 93 years old, Tun Dr. Mahathir is the oldest current Prime Minister and he’s also a Guinness World Record holder. One of the probable reasons why he prefers an iPhone is because of its ease of use. With iOS, the phone just works and there are fewer things that could go wrong as most of the advanced settings are tucked away.

Take for example the built-in camera app. It’s just a basic point and shoot interface, and it doesn’t even come with a Pro manual mode. Apple doesn’t even give you the option to change the image size and if you want a different video resolution or slow-mo frame rate, you’ll have to dig through the phone’s settings > camera section.

Longevity and software updates

Image: MalaysiaKini

Initially, we thought Tun Dr. Mahathir was using the iPhone 8 Plus. After looking through several photos online that showed the phone’s unibody aluminium exterior and antenna bands, we are quite certain that he is currently using a Silver iPhone 7 Plus that was launched in 2016. Although the device is almost 3 years old, the iPhone 7 Plus is still receiving the latest software updates and it appears that Apple will continue to do so for several years to come.

The iPhone 7 Plus was released with iOS 10 and if Tun Dr. Mahathir keeps his device up to date, he should be running on the latest iOS 12.2. When Apple rolled out its iOS 12 update, older devices including the iPhone 7 Plus would feel almost brand new. Apple had tweaked the operating system for faster app loading with up to 2X faster under heavy load. Even launching the camera app is reported to be 70% quicker than before.

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Image: AP via Japan Times

Although the iPhone XS Max is the latest and greatest Apple has to offer, the iPhone 7 Plus is still a capable flagship smartphone. The Apple A10 chip is still powerful and in the camera department, the device supports portrait mode, 2X optical zoom and it can also shoot 4K videos at 30fps.

The iPhone 7 Plus is still offered by Apple today. The device with 32GB storage is officially priced at RM2,749 while the 128GB version is listed at RM3,199.

Privacy and Security

Image: Lai Seng Sin (REUTERS)

Of course, probably the biggest reason why he uses an iPhone is privacy and security. When it comes to apps, Apple is stringent on the type of apps that get listed on the App Store. Developers have to adhere to strict guidelines or else the app will be removed.

According to Apple, privacy is a fundamental human right and they are committed to keeping your personal information safe. Apart from having encryption and data protection on iOS, Apple says they can provide users with a personalised experience without collecting personal data that can be used for targeted advertising. This is an area where Facebook and Google are heavily criticised.

The Cupertino company had also refused to assist in unlocking an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attack. According to Tim Cook, their refusal to cooperate was a defence of civil liberties. In his email to Apple employees, the CEO mentioned: “At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties.”

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Because of Apple’s reputation for privacy, this could be the reason why other world leaders are often seen using an iPhone as their primary device. Tun Dr. Mahathir joins a list of renowned leaders that are seen using the iPhone and this include Narendra Modi, Donald Trump and Theresa May.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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Alexander Wong