| Cult of Mac

Germany investigates unfair advantages in Apple’s anti-tracking system

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Facebook vs. iPhone App Tracking Transparency
There's more to App Tracking Transparency than meets the eye.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The German government is looking into whether Apple’s App Tracking Transparency system is designed to give Apple an unfair advantage in advertising.

The Bundeskartellamt doesn’t object to the iPhone-maker blocking tracking. But the agency points out that ATT doesn’t block Apple’s own advertising tracking system.

Ad firms share your location and online behavior 747 times a day

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Advertisers pay to know your online behavior and location.
Advertisers pay to know your online behavior and location.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Google leads the way among ad tech companies sharing your online behavior and location with advertisers. It happens an average of 747 times a day in the United States and 376 times a day in Europe. That’s according to a new report from a civil liberties group.

Google and others use a process known as real-time bidding to help advertisers target you by behavior and location.

The group behind the report called such sharing “the biggest data breach” in the world.

Today in Apple history: Cupertino disputes so-called Apple tax

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Microsoft Windows
Microsoft ads take issue with Apple's premium prices.
Photo: Microsoft

April 16 Today in Apple history April 16, 2009: Apple hits back at Microsoft following an advertisement that criticizes Cupertino for failing to sell decent laptops for less than $1,000.

“A PC is no bargain when it doesn’t do what you want,” Mac PR director Bill Evans tells Bloomberg. “The one thing that both Apple and Microsoft can agree on is that everyone thinks the Mac is cool. With its great designs and advanced software, nothing matches it at any price.”

Today in Apple history: Apple’s war with IBM commences

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IBM PC 5150: The IBM Personal Computer
This unassuming IBM Personal Computer started the Apple-versus-PC feud.
Photo: Boffy B/Wikipedia CC

August 12: Today in Apple history: Apple's war with IBM commences with IBM Personal Computer launch August 12, 1981: The launch of the IBM Personal Computer ignites a long-running Apple-versus-PC rivalry.

Secure in the Apple II’s technical superiority over the new PC, Apple welcomes International Business Machines to the personal computing party in a full-page ad in the pages of The Wall Street Journal. Things won’t stay positive for long.

Execs fretted over whether App Store ads were ‘at odds’ with Apple messaging

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TikTok continues to dominate the App Store in 2020.
Apple sells ads through the App Store.
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

Many people may be surprised to hear that while Tim Cook has often taken thinly-veiled shots at the targeted ad-supported business model of some rivals, Apple does itself sell targeted ads.

Although there is a bit more nuance to that, it can look like a contradiction, or even a bit of hypocrisy, from the outside. As emails highlighted during the current Apple vs. Epic legal battle shows, Apple employees also grappled with whether or not Apple should offer ads in the App Store — and whether this opposed Apple’s messaging.

App Tracking Transparency makes Chinese tech giant Alibaba worry

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Alibaba
Alibaba is a giant in the world of e-commerce.
Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash CC

It’s not just U.S. tech giants that fear iOS 14.5’s new App Tracking Transparency feature. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, with a market cap of $646.84 billion, is supposedly very worried, just like Facebook.

A report from The Information says Alibaba invited half a dozen marketing execs to its Hangzhou headquarters to discuss how to react to the new feature, which stops apps from tracking users across websites and third-party apps.

Devs can soon pay to get their apps in App Store’s ‘Suggested’ section

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App Store image
Apple's got a potentially huge new revenue stream in the works.
Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash CC

Apple is ramping up the advertising side of its App Store business, according to the Financial Times.

The company currently sells App Store ads, allowing developers to pay for top spots. But soon Apple will roll out another advertising spot for sale in the “Suggested” apps section. This will allow developers to more widely promote their apps, rather than having them show up only in response to certain search terms.

Facebook will try to convince iPhone users to let themselves be tracked

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Your iPhone will soon offer a bit more privacy.
Facebook will try to talk users into hitting the “allow” button when asked if they can be tracked. Apple will add this pop-up to help users protect their privacy.
Graphic: Apple

Facebook is going to take a shot at persuading users to skip the “do not track” button that Apple will soon require iPhone application to display. The pop-up is designed to protect user privacy, but the Facebook app will offer its own pop-up screen explaining the benefits of targeted advertising before users are given the option to opt out of being tracked.

Apple forces Google’s iPhone apps to stop tracking users online

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A group called Google You Owe Us wants $1000 each after Google invaded their privacy
Millions in Britain wants $1000 each because they claim Google invaded their privacy
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google’s iOS applications will comply with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy, according to a blog post from the company on Wednesday. That means these applications won‘t have to specifically ask users to permit the app to track them online.

Apple’s ATT policy hasn’t gone into effect yet, but it’ll give iPhone and iPad users more privacy. And it’s expected to cost advertisers billions.

Tim Cook will talk restoring faith in online advertising this week

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Apple Q4 2020 earnings on Oct. 29: When it comes to Apple earnings, CEO Tim Cook seems to have a reality-distortion field of his own.
Tim Cook will talk privacy matters this week.
Photo illustration: Cult of Mac

Apple CEO Tim Cook will give a pro-privacy speech during the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels this Thursday.

Cook will deliver his speech virtually from Cupertino. The talk will cover “enforcing rights in a changing world,” and will deal with boosting user confidence in online advertising, among other topics.