The recent article Goodbye Obamaberry, hello Obamadroid describes the decision to move Obama's phone from the Blackberry to the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The Galaxy 4S is of course an old, foreign phone. As a security practitioner, I would never recommend such a beast, especially with Google's tendency away from privacy.
Apple is a domestic hardware designer... and maybe the whole point of this question. iOS is built on FOSS underpinnings (although less-so than Android). The NSA and FBI issues with the iPhone make it likely to me that it offers some level of security. The iPhone is also a more stable platform, i.e., they're very numerous and very uniform in their design, manufacture and parts. This would seem to me to be desirable for a security audit.
So... why did the U.S. government go with a "foreign" phone?
The only reason I can think of it is that the iPhone is manufactured in China, and the U.S. has expressed concern about them.
- The fear of hardware tampering was made clear with the Huwai story a few years back makes it clear thath the U.S. government is concerned about government backed corporate espionage Huawei, ZTE Provide Opening for China Spying, Report Says
- Android is open and South Korea is an ally, the Galaxy 4S might not be manufactured in China (can somebody confirm this?)
Also of note is that according to the article, Obama's using the phone as an OWA portal for his email, and the DISA site indicates that "there is no data at rest" DOD Mobility Classified Capability - Secret (DMCC-S), which means... the OWA angle is probably true.
This is of particular interest to me because in the past I've been asked about how to secure phones for small business owners. I would normally recommend Apple over Android and Google, the reasoning being the privacy controls and security features of the phones. A true security nut, I might suggest they go with a stripped down phone with Cyanogenmod or similar Google-free Android variant, but setting that up would be a nightmare.
Can anyone with experience in this area comment? Is this a matter of convenience of ripping apart Android vs IOS? Did the hardware platform's origin (China vs. possibly Korea) factor in?