Apple makes privacy an integrated service. Does that make it a luxury?

ByJocelyn Longoria 2019-06-06 241

Apple fans are usually happy and annoyed about the new software and hardware that the iGroup presents to them at the annual WWDC conference in California. This year, however, another major theme was at the forefront, and is running through almost every new product and service Apple wants to bring to market: privacy.

A "data industrial complex" in which data would be used with "military efficiency" as weapons against users and citizens - this is how Apple boss Tim Cook has already described the online advertising duopoly Facebook and Google. "We could make tons of money if we monetized our users, but we chose not to," says Cook elsewhere.

Apple login against Facebook and Google

Apple has now launched a major attack against Facebook and Google at the WWDC. Sign in with Apple" provides app developers with a new tool that, unlike Facebook and Google logins, handles user data very sparingly - and even allows users to enter only a randomized mail address rather than any data at all. App developers can continue to send newsletters to their users, but can't use their real email address for tracking.

Apple's privacy features also come to the fore with other services. With location features, iPhone users can specify that an app can use the location only this time, but not in the future. With Apple Watch's new Noise App, which warns users about long stays in very noisy environments, no audio recordings are sent to Apple servers.

Will privacy become a luxury good?

With its focus on privacy, Apple is trying to argue the value of its expensive devices and services. One would sell smartphones and services such as music streaming, but not user data. Apple has recently brought harsh criticism from Google. "Privacy cannot be a luxury offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services," Google CEO Sundar Pichai shot between the lines against Apple.

"Apple products are certainly not luxury goods," countered Apple software boss Craig Federighi. The efforts of Google and facebook to pay more attention to data protection for products in the future are good, but should be enjoyed with caution. It takes more than "a few months and a few press releases" to adapt business models to the requirements of true digital privacy.

The strategy behind it

Apple must differentiate itself from other manufacturers with its Cashcow, the iPhone. Companies from South Korea or China have long had better, more innovative and cheaper competitive models on the market. The iGroup wants to set itself apart from them by emphasizing digital privacy - and the argument could really be used by many consumers.

In addition, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon have been targeted by the authorities in the USA. The US Department of Justice is investigating Google and Apple, and the FTC will control Facebook and Amazon. In this situation, Apple is trying to make itself as user-friendly as possible and point out the mistakes of others. Facebook in particular in the USA is now also strongly concerned with data protection issues. It is not for nothing that Apple boss Cook recently called for a data protection law in the USA, which should be modelled on the DSGVO of the EU.

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