With iOS 15, Apple hides more and more private information from iPhone and iPad users. The eMail address and IP number of iCloud subscribers are now hidden. Advertisers say it will be increasingly difficult to target them with relevant and qualified ads. If Apple decides to extend these functions to all users, the firm could create a paid anonymous targeting system for advertisers.
Apple’s rhetoric on privacy has always been clear: personal information on iPhones and iPads should be protected. This is why the firm has always wanted iMessage to be encrypted. This is why Safari has an anti-advertising cookie filter. And this is all the more true since the iPhone covers not only payments, with your credit card number made invisible during payments, but also medical data.
Read also – iOS 15.4: the update boosts the autonomy of your old iPhone
With iOS 14.5, Apple introduced technology that prevents apps from tracking your activity with other apps. It’s called App Tracking Transparency (officially translated to ” App Tracking Transparency “). A feature that has been massively accepted by iPhone users and has made Facebook cringe. With iOS 15.4, Apple puts a layer.
Advertisers worried about the arrival of Hyde My Email and Private Relay
The update contains two important functions in particular: Hyde My Email and Private Relay (“Hide my email” and “iCloud Private Relay” in VF). The former serves to hide users’ email address while the latter functions as a VPN, hiding the user’s IP number. Of course, this does not prevent the latter from accepting cookies, which will be used in advertising tracking. Note that Hyde My Email and Private Relay are two functions that are exclusive to iCloud+ and Apple One subscribers.
In an article published by our colleagues from The Information, some advertisers are concerned about the arrival of these two functions. Especially in the future. Today, their impact is quite limited since only a portion of iPhone and iPad users can benefit from them. However, advertisers fear that Apple will decide toextend these functions to all users. The server cost would certainly be high enough to guarantee a good quality of service. But the Cupertino company has ample financial means to do so.
From this extension flow two disturbing hypotheses. The first is toget Google to integrate similar functions into the Android system. And the impact is far greater. Google has already discussed its plan to eliminate advertising cookies thanks to a replacement called FLoC (which would hide private information from brands while offering the possibility of displaying targeted advertisements). For fear of seeing Android users seduced by Private Relay, Hyde My Email and App Tracking Transparency, the Mountain View firm could therefore launch similar tools.
What if Apple became an exclusive advertising intermediary on iOS?
The second fear is financial: if Apple extends to all its customers the tools reserved for iCloud+ subscribers, the firm could become a essential intermediary for advertisers. Apple could indeed hide information from iPhone users, but relay brand advertisements through an anonymous targeting system. As with the App Store or Apple Pay, Apple charge a commission for this service.
This is enough to boost the firm’s advertising revenues even more. Because, despite the pompous official speeches, Apple is a company that lives in part thanks to advertising. Its advertising revenue in 2021 reached $4 billion. That’s 13 times more than in 2017. And according to some analysts’ forecasts, advertising could earn Apple more than $10 billion in the near future.
Source: The Information