Apple is an ad company now
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- Chris Stokel-Walker, Will Bedingfield, Aarian Marshall, Adrienne So, David Nield, Darren Loucaides, Vauhini Vara, Gregory Barber, Sonia Paul, Tom Simonite, Lauren Smiley
- Oct 20 2022
- Word count
- 676 words
I'll paste what I said a year ago on a thread about finding privacy-friendly alternatives:
Good luck to any Apple users looking to escape their ecosystem. I'm still working to remove myself from Google (Gmail and Voice is gonna be hard), and they're relatively open by comparison.
Let me know what you end up choosing instead of Google voice. Everything I have found is crazy overpriced.
I use jmp.chat and am very happy with it. I don't know about Google Voice or how its features compare. It is worth checking out if you haven't already.
I will if I ever do. Sadly its starting to fade in usefulness as companies start overtly or accidentally blocking VOIP providers for things like 2 factor texts.
My current thought process is a burner phone with the cheapest plan possible and setup some sort of auto-forward if possible. KDE connect may play a role.
Most smartphones I've seen these days have dual SIM (usually in the form of one e-SIM and one physical). Cheap no-data plan (I've seen them in the $3-6 per month range in the US) and you have your burner number done.
The physical SIM is on the way out....my guess is that it'll be phased out of new smartphones inside of 5 years.
I was also under the impression you couldn't have 2 active sims at one time, which defeats purpose of the second phone number.
Dual SIM Active (DSA) is a known technology that has been around for a long time. However, it requires two sets of radios inside the phone so it was already a rare find and I haven't found a single current phone that has DSA.
However, depending on your use, there are many phones that are Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) which allows you to choose which SIMs perform which actions. For example SIM1 for data and calls, SIM2 for texts. Don't know if that fits your use case, but it is currently available in lots of phones.
Sadly does not. Google Voice can ring as many devices (and recieve texts on) as you want. Plus dialing from browser.
I use it as my personal number that can ring both my and my wife's cellphone, thus serving equivalent of a home phone.
I was able to switch off of gmail in a single night. Having a password manager was helpful for giving me a list of all of the sites that use my email address.
My gmail usage predates password managers. I got in during that invite only time back when it was way nicer that the alternatives.
But more importantly, it's about seperating the things into 'what should get left in gmail.' Things that only offer SSO via Google or Facebook? No sense migrating into the other fire.
Bank stuff? Probably almost better keeping in gmail....no sense in moving those massive tracking networks into my new email.
Plus I still haven't fully decided how to best handle my email. I like Protonmail, but I'm thinking I want to get a domain so I can more easily rotate providers in the future.
I would highly recommend getting your own domain. It makes everything so much better.
I would also recommend looking at a service like fast mail. You can have it automatically import, fetch, and send from your gmail account. That way you can transition as quickly or as slowly as you want. Everything just gets dumped in the same inbox (or a separate folder if you prefer).
Word of advice if you go the domain name route -- Make sure you keep up on renewals. Setup reminders on your phone if you have to. Especially if you purchase for more than a year at a time, since you're more likely to have different card info a few years down the line. Yes, there are grace periods, and you do get email notifications ahead of expiration, but you can still miss those entirely and then you're completely out of luck. And make sure your domain is registered with an email address that isn't on that domain name.
For me it was that I migrated to a different email address (became more privacy-aware and moved away from firstnamelastname.com use) and setup forwards to the new domain name's email. I moved all the important accounts over to the new email, but there were a few less-important accounts I never did. I completely missed the expiration email and lost the domain name and had a heck of a time regaining access to certain accounts that pointed to a now non-existent email address.
That’s why I use ProtonMail with a custom domain!
I also created a new Google account that points at my ProtonMail address. So everything can easily get moved over. I’m not trying to make my online presence disappear, so I don’t care if Google knows my new email address. They just don’t get to see all of my emails.
I've been strategizing about migrating away from Gmail, but I suspect I'm going to have to keep my Gmail account around as a vestigial point of contact. I still get random life updates by email from people I haven't really talked to since college, and this has actually been increasing lately as my generational cohort seems to be getting off Facebook more and more. I like hearing from these people and value the opportunities to reconnect with lapsed friendships so I don't want to lose that but I know the odds of any of these people actually updating their address books if I say I'm changing my email are basically nil.
If I just redirect my Gmail to wherever I am now that's still a lot of my correspondence going through Google anyway.
Honestly, they became an ad company when they introduced iAd in 2010. That product failed, but it's not exactly surprising that they've been reworking it behind the scenes. Ads are big business. It's how Google made 210 billion dollars in revenue last year. Yes I know Apple made 50% more than even that, but that's from selling hardware. They could make more, so why wouldn't they?
The problem, for me at least, is that I was willing to pay Apple prices because they didn’t shove ads in my face. I paid the extra $100 for an Apple TV because it doesn’t have ads on the Home Screen.
That philosophy has slowly changed over the last decade. Why pay the premium now? What does it get you? A better user experience with less of the company’s services shoved down your throat? Yeah right.
Apple’s going to have a hard time justifying the degraded user experience and high prices. I do think it’ll hurt their image and (more important to them) their bottom line in the long run.
Shortsightedness is the plague of society.
Environmental destruction would not be nearly so bad if we thought about the consequences for more than 0 seconds.
Apple was an ad company before then. They've always had sponsored content in iTunes and the App Store. It's worth noting that iAds failed because Apple would not expose the kind of fine grain user data driven controls that other ad platforms did. They didn't offer enough data for advertisers to link to their own data sets to try and better target their ad buys.
It's a risky play for Apple, because they charge a premium for premium hardware and software. Where other companies offer free services and discounted hardware all subsidized by aggressive advertising, Apple makes you pay for these things either through high device costs or subscriptions. The Apple TV is a good example of this. It's $50-$100 more than a comparable Roku, but 1/3 of the home screen isn't taken up by Scientology ads and the screensaver isn't just a bunch of billboards advertising crappy b-movies.
There are places Apple can expand advertising that would not necessarily violate this (cost-reduced subscription tiers for TV+, News+, or Music come to mind), but they will have a revolt on their hands if they start baking advertising into their software the way Google does.
What bothers me about Apple being an ad company is that it's wholly unnecessary. They can make tons of money without having to venture into the poison of advertising. I wish they'd take that high road.
Calling it an "ad company" is overstating the point a bit. They've created a new advertising vertical so they have ad revenue now, but the lion's share of their money still comes from selling hardware.
Yes they can make tons of money today, but I think they recognize that phones and laptops are both rapidly becoming commodities and the pace of innovation on all this stuff just isn't going to go as fast as it used to over the next couple of decades. Diversifying their revenue streams is how they plan for a future where they can't keep selling iPhones at insane margins because there just isn't enough to do with a phone to justify such margins anymore.
So they can go wide instead, by introducing a bunch of services that create ecosystem effects that keep people in.
Yeah, I was just carrying along the terminology used in the article title, as clickbait-y as it is. I just have a personal absolute disgust / aversion to advertising and would like to see companies avoid it as one of their business pursuits if at all possible. It negatively affects the reputation of a company in my mind if they consider ads as either a business model or a line of revenue. I understand that given many factors this isn't a realistic attitude but an idealistic one.
Not to mention, Apple's boasting of privacy is at odds with their embracing of advertising, and their privacy features that hurt ad-revenue of competitors seems awfully anti-trust/anti-competitive
Yeah it will be interesting to see what it does as Apple gets involved. I know they think they can have sort of a positive effect on presenting a version of a bad business that's cleaned up, but that makes me think of the abyss gazing back. For example, Disney cruises don't have gambling because they think it's tawdry and degenerate and not-kid friendly which is the mission of the company. I worry the ad business is kind of like that where once you take a bite it takes you down the dark side and you can't not start to act like a creepy stalker company that compromises the quality of your software and hardware to take ownership of the system away from the user.
I'm particularly worried about who will inevitably succeed Tim Cook.
He's Jobs' protégé, and Jobs was extremely opinionated about what Apple is/was, should be, and stands for. Cook is less opinionated but still carries on some of that culture.
But with each successor being further and further removed from the influence of Jobs, the less Apple will stand for minimalism and simplicity.
The next person might not be bothered with the contradiction of spying adware with Apple's principles and instead will be giddy to increase revenue by another X%.