iOS 14.5 is finally here. I upgraded last night, thanks to being on the beta tester list for iOS operating systems, and privacy just got a major update globally. But what does it mean for the larger ecosystem?
Apple’s focus is privacy: that’s clear. It’s also focused on beating Facebook and Google, big tech frenemies that rely on huge amounts of consumer data to drive their ad-supported economies. Less data for them means a better position for Apple, right?
Well, maybe not.
From my post at Forbes:
But something changed in the past few months.
After kicking off that anti-Apple ad campaign that included TV spots, newspaper ads, and a cynical we-care-for-the-little-guys tear-jerker “Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found” YouTube video … Zuckerberg changed his message.
In fact, iOS 14 could make Facebook stronger, he said.
“When it comes to the iOS 14 changes, for example, and their impact on our business, I think the reality is that I’m confident that we’re gonna be able to manage through that situation,” he told former TechCruncher editor-at-large Josh Constine on his Pressclub Clubhouse show. “And we’ll be in a good position. I think it’s possible that we may even be in a stronger position.”
That’s because the IDFA that was freely available in previous version of Apple’s mobile operating system — which has been a real privacy threat, has been used to track people, and demonstrably could even be used to track the president of the United States — did allow a degree of what we might generously call data portability. It wasn’t your portability, under your control as a consumer, but the industries’ portability and usage of your data. Marketers and big adtech could trace your activities, your inclinations, your purchases and more by seeing where your device identifier popped up.
That provided amazing targetability: right ad, right place, right person, right time.
And it was available to anyone with a bit of cash and a bit of tech: adtech companies with a seat at the table … ad impressions to buy or sell on ad exchanges and supply-side platforms.
Data portability is good for the little guy.
Data portability is bad for the big entrenched platforms.
iOS 14.5 will bring us more privacy. It may also, however, further entrench the advantages that big tech companies that own big consumer data platforms already have.