I think everyone's reading too much into this. This is wholly about covering Apple's arse, and little else. Since you can't tell anyone your data is being peeked at, you remove any hint that it might be the case. So Apple is covering it's arse.
As far as Apple "refusing demands for data", that's bullshit, or at least marketing-influenced stretching of the truth. In the event GovCo fronts up with a valid court order, Apple has two choices, either pony up the data requested, or, suffer the steep consequences of not doing so. Without a court order on the other hand, you may very well say no without consequence. I see the reports "prune down" the legal requirements to make it look like Apple will never pony up any data under any conditions. This is not true, however, it IS better than the likes of Yahoo, who are reputed to hand over data first, and ask questions later. So kudos to them on that note.
On the subject of protecting the users (as some other non-el reg reports imply), this again is not the case, but rather, Apple making life easier for themselves. If Apple is presented with a phone for hacking, now, Apple CAN'T do it, rather than WON'T do it. There is clear legal distinction between the two, one means it's beyond your capability even if you wanted to, the other means you COULD do it, just don't want to. And there are penalties against that to "discourage" the activity. So rather than Apple manhandle phones manually where requested, now they don't have to touch them at all.
So this has nothing to do with the user, rather Apple covering it's own arse, with the reporters making it look like they're doing it out of the goodness of their own fruity hearts. Read it for what it is people.