My understanding is that Apple does not, in fact, have “it” to give away, and this was a deliberate choice on their part. They do not want the technology to exist, not even in-house. The FBI wants Apple to create a means of accessing everything on this guy’s phone and then hand this means of access over to the government. This would subsequently leave the FBI with the ability to unlock anybody’s iPhone whenever they want to. Pandora’s box is open, genie is out of the bottle, pick your favorite metaphor. This is already not looking good for the forces of freedom and individual rights. Given the now-public track record that the NSA has in terms of spying on American citizens, it starts to look even worse. Consider also the, shall we say, less-than-stellar reputation that US government agencies have regarding keeping top secret information secret and its relatively poor performance against foreign hackers. This tool, if Apple is forced to make it, instantly becomes the biggest hacking and cyberterrorism prize in history. Any foreign government or independent hacking collective who gets their hands on this has instant and complete access to anybody’s iPhone that they want to see. That’s 94 million smartphones in the US alone, and the US has not shown itself competent to protect such a dangerous and lucrative target.
Commercial implications aside (and these are legion), Apple does not want to be complicit in making their customer base so hideously vulnerable to malicious actors, or to law enforcement that is overstepping its bounds.