Does Apple really care about you?
Overall, though, the company has done an excellent job of positioning itself as the (only) tech behemoth that’s conscious of humanity’s true meaning.
In recent years, Apple has made privacy one of the core tenets of its brand. While all the other tech companies are busily raiding every element of your life and selling it, Apple is merely selling you expensive hardware coupled with increasingly expensive and expansive software.
So in its role as guardian of your galaxy, Cupertino released a new ad in which it tries to show what’s really happening to you every day.
A young woman is in an effortlessly retro record store. Suddenly, this record store transitions into an auction room.
Why this record store? Oh, why not, I suppose. The whole point is to tell you that wherever you are, your personal data is being auctioned to the highest bidder.
Which the protagonist of this ad, Ellie, seems not to have known. Could this be true? Surely she has an iPhone. Apple would only ever feature people who look like they own an iPhone in its ads. (We later discover that, gosh, she does.)
It follows, then, that she must have seen the entreaties from Apple every time she’s opened an app — the ones encouraging her to ask the app not to track her.
It’s a curious phrase. That you have to politely ask a thief to get out of your house?
For thievery is precisely what’s being portrayed here. Various data brokers are bidding to sell Ellie’s personal data to anyone and everyone. Though I must say, these data brokers are remarkably well dressed. Wasn’t Apple at least tempted to show the true grubbiness of some of them?
Ellie is startled that these people are picking over every morsel of her life. From her emails to her drugstore purchases to her location data to her grandmother. Well, her grandmother’s contact information.
How could this be? The sheer effrontery.
There’s an odd psychology at this point. Having been completely aghast that this is going on, she reaches for her iPhone and asks an app called CarryOut not to track her. As if she’s never seen one of these before.
This causes the well-dressed data brokers to disappear. My, CarryOut must be an evil sort.
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Of course, Apple is trying, again, to reassure customers that it cares about their lives — even if the company doesn’t exactly stop your data from being collected by apps.
It is, too, something of a sadness that, as retired Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently observed, the internet was created by such wise brains as himself in such a centralized way.
But the real purpose of this ad is to present Facebook, Google and friends as thieves and Apple as the Holy Order of St. Timothy.
Apple’s App Tracking Transparency encouragements have hurt both Facebook’s and Google’s business. So much so that Google recently made the concession that Android 13 will limit the data that apps can pilfer from your heart.
For Apple, though, the issue is even broader.
The swirling clouds of antitrust hover above the Spaceship. What better way to make regulators believe you’re the good one than by presenting yourself as the protector of the human soul?