Apple has traditionally been very protective of its iPhone devices and the mechanisms surrounding iOS—just ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has butted heads with the Cupertino company over encryption. Be that as it may, Apple is reportedly set to hand out special iPhone models to security researchers in an effort to make them more secure.
This is according to Forbes, which says Apple will be announcing this plan at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas later this week. In addition, Apple is also said to be planning to announce a bug bounty program for macOS, its desktop operating systems for various Mac computers.
As it pertains to the iPhone, these special variants are said to be "dev devices" that allow users to do quite a bit more on them than what is possible on a regular iPhone. One of the things this would enable is easier access to the operating system. Security researchers who get their hands one of these dev devices would also be able to halt the processor and look closer at memory, in search of bugs.
That said, these special handsets will still not be on the same level as the ones that Apple's internal staff has access to—they will be less open overall. Unlike one of those handsets, a dev device would likely have protections in place to prevent decrypting the firmware.
Apple already has a bug bounty program for its iPhone handsets, which is an invite-only affair. For this deeper round of security research, only the top participants would be involved, according to the report.
In regards to the Mac bug bounty program, details are fairly light at the moment. For example, it's not clear what the prize amounts will be for certain types of bugs. Stay tuned, though, because if the report is correct, more details will be revealed this week.