This is another example of legal overreach, which is a natural result of the over representation of legal professionals and under representation of science and technology professionals in the Congress and executive branch of the US government. Besides, of course, the judiciary consists entirely of legal professionals.
For technology (hence, products) to function, materials and processes need to be used consistent with “laws of nature” and nature’s principles. Better aligned the products are with natural laws, better the performance. FBI, on the other hand, works with “man-made laws.” When there is conflict between “laws of nature” and “man-made laws,” the prudent approach is to accept the “laws of nature.”
A similar approach resulted in a huge controversy: “net neutrality debates.” The “net neutrality” is an attempt to apply legal principles to how networks are to be designed (please see, Net neutrality: issues and solution). The result was vacuous debates, which did not address the underlying problems in the network industry. Currently, a related issue (FCC’s authority to regulate internet) is under litigation. The net result is stalled network industry progress for many years, and delay/loss of potential benefits from wider and better availability of broadband.
If the position advocated by the FBI is taken to its logical conclusion, the result will be further decline in the vitality of the US technology sector, loss of marketshare for Apple, and provide opportunities to competitors whose governments may have better appreciation for “laws of nature.”