Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, has just signed into law a bill passed by the California state legislature that will require all smartphones to offer a so-called "kill switch" by next year.
For Apple, this is a significant development, as ALL smartphones -- including the iPhone -- sold in the state next year will have to come with the kill switch so that the device can be "rendered inoperable" should they fall into unsavory hands.
The wording of the bill clearly defines what all smartphones sold in the state will be required to feature by July 1st, 2015:
Any smartphone that is manufactured on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date, shall include a technological solution at the time of sale, to be provided by the manufacturer or operating system provider, that, once initiated and successfully communicated to the smartphone, can render the essential features of the smartphone inoperable to an unauthorized user when the smartphone is not in the possession of an authorized user. The smartphone shall, during the initial device setup process, prompt an authorized user to enable the technological solution. The technological solution shall be reversible, so that if an authorized user obtains possession of the smartphone after the essential features of the smartphone have been rendered inoperable, the operation of those essential features can be restored by an authorized user. A technological solution may consist of software, hardware, or a combination of both software and hardware, and when enabled, shall be able to withstand a hard reset or operating system downgrade and shall prevent reactivation of the smartphone on a wireless network except by an authorized user.