Feds to court: Apple must be forced to help us unlock seized iPhone

"For his part, Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis also told Ars that the government is showing its sensitivity to the torrent of public discussion in this case. Already, various members of Congress have weighed in, both for and against Apple's defiance.

"What this suggests to me is that the audience for this motion is as much the public and the media as it is the court, probably because the government's very aggressive request in this case is correctly receiving the criticism it deserves," he e-mailed.

The prosecutor also re-iterates that Apple has complied with similar government assistance requests and orders previously, and until 2015, it had not refused.

But that’s not a significant legal leg to stand on, according toRyan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington.

"The idea that because a company (or anyone) voluntarily helped the government in the past is now required to is specious," he e-mailed."