WWDC and privacy

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference was last week. As expected, one of the biggest announcements was that they’re moving away from Intel and to their own chips. And, although it wasn’t front and center, it was mentioned enough that I’m sticking with my prediction that this is all about “AI”, and we’re going to see a bunch of real advancements over the next 2-5 years in the way we interact with Apple systems (a baby step in this direction is the introduction of Siri translation). However, what didn’t make much big news but is significant is Apple’s continual push towards privacy. First, the new version of Safari will take a hint from Brave, and automatically start blocking trackers and reporting those that it has blocked or that regularly occur during your browsing. But it doesn’t stop at Safari — Apple made major changes to “IDFA”. This is almost certainly something of which you’ve never heard unless you’re in the advertising world, but it’s a critical piece of infrastructure that while keeping you anonymous allows you to be tracked. The industry has been speculating for a while that Apple was going to kill the feature, but what they did is almost certainly better from a strategic perspective, though still just as damaging to the $80 billion mobile-ad industry — they’ve made tracking explicitly opt-in on a per-app basis. How many of you are going to say, sure, go ahead and track me?

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