Darren Hayes, a Pace University professor of computer forensics, argued that Apple and other tech companies may have gone too far by using encryption that, in theory, makes it impossible for the firms to hand over evidence even if served with a legal warrant.
"I think that the public, once they become more educated about what is happening, might change their stance about Apple," said Hayes, who has worked as a consultant to law enforcement.
"This case is sensitive for the US public and I don't think it's particularly good public relations for Apple" to refuse to help the investigation, Hayes added.
One key question is whether Apple has the ability to provide the assistance sought by the FBI.
"Apple does not have the keys to your device -- they are burned onto your chip," Hall said.
But he said it may be possible to get around that encryption with software modifications.
"Apple has never been forthcoming about the deep details of its system," Hall said.
Hayes said that no one knows for sure if Apple can circumvent the encryption, but noted "the fact that they're arguing this makes me think they may be able to do it."