Apple uses data privacy to compete more fiercely with Facebook11. June 2021
Apple uses data privacy to compete more fiercely with Facebook
San Francisco, 11.6.2021
At the WWDC developer conference, Apple presented itself as a responsible company where the topic of data protection is now writ large. The focus was on the update of the operating systems for iPhone and iPad , which gives users the ability to effectively prevent advertising tracking. In addition, the email app will in future prevent monitoring programs from tracking whether someone has opened an email or not.
This push on data protection is a frontal attack on competitor Facebook. After all, Mark Zuckerberg’s empire thrives on collecting data about people in order to deliver targeted advertising. The protests from the advertising industry failed to impress Cook. He showed the data collectors the red card with far-reaching changes to Apple’s Safari browser: In the future, Safari will be able to disguise its own technical address on the web. Those who want to shield all of their apps’ network connections can use the “Private Relay” function. It is part of a new subscription iCloud+. Similar to a VPN, Private Relay anonymizes the user’s movements on the web. A small drop of bitterness: The virtualization of the location possible with the classic VPN service (“Virtual Private Network”) – e.g. to watch streaming content that is only permitted in the USA – is omitted.
Apple is moving at a fast pace toward artificial intelligence in all product groups. Here, too, data privacy is a primary concern. Because as a rule, machine learning data is not transferred to any servers, but processed locally on the Apple – devices. The new iPhone software announced on Monday will be able to read text in photos, and automatic translation into other languages will be possible on the devices.
The video chat app Facetime will be expanded after rival services like Zoom boomed in the Corona crisis. However, Apple is not only competing against Zoom, but also against Facebook. That’s because Apple’s revamped video chat software now enables movie nights with friends, even though everyone is at home. This works across the Apple product range – iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. And of course it works best when everyone involved is an Apple customer. But even those who work with Android or Windows will soon be able to dial into Facetime video chats. To do this, users will be able to invite others to a Facetime chat via a link – just like it is common with the Zoom video conferencing service. Apple also emphasizes that all connections will be protected against spying with end-to-end encryption.
Another message was directed at Apple’s business partners. This allows manufacturers of home appliances to integrate the Siri voice assistant. This is a path already taken by Amazon with its Alexa assistance software and Google with its Assistant. Together with its competitors Google and Amazon, Apple now wants to promote the common standard “Matter” in the smart home. With the “Universal Control” function, Apple allows Mac computers and iPad tablets positioned next to each other to be operated with mouse and keyboard as if they were one device, without them having to be specially connected. Apple is also continuing to expand the “Health” feature . For example, the iPhone and Apple Watch will be able to analyze a user’s gait in the future to warn them of an increased risk of falling. In the U.S., Apple is cooperating with medical institutions so that the “Health” application can display and interpret current lab results directly in the app.
The new features ensured that various elements of Apple’s ecosystem become more closely intertwined. This makes it easier to use the products.
Running parallel to the developer conference are court cases accusing Apple of its app store practices. What is at stake? Apple collects a fee from app providers of between 15 to 30 percent of the revenue generated, for example, when subscriptions or in-app purchases are made. The “Fortnite” maker Epic Games is taking legal action against this and has also received backing from Facebook. Shortly before the start of WWDC, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he would not demand any fees from content developers for at least the next two years. Apple CEO Tim Cook did not mention Epic Games in his speech.
On the other hand, a survey of app developers indicates that the majority have no objections to the payment practice. More than 90 percent of the more than 400 respondents want to continue developing apps for Apple products.