Apple’s privacy initiatives aren’t exactly popular in Silicon Valley. So Facebook fears for its advertising revenue. At the WWDC developer conference, Apple boss Tim Cook followed suit.
Cupertino (dpa) – Apple has been advertising data protection for months. Most recently, an update of the operating systems for iPhone and iPad ensured that annoying advertising tracking can be effectively prevented. At the WWDC developer conference, Apple boss Tim Cook and his team went one step further.
For example, the e-mail app will in future prevent monitoring programs from being able to determine whether someone has opened an e-mail or not.
With his foray into data protection, Cook steers the iPhone company on a collision course with large Internet companies, especially Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s empire thrives on collecting data about people in order to be able to deliver targeted advertising. But the protests from the advertising industry did not induce Apple to give in, on the contrary.
In the future, the Apple browser Safari will be able to hide its own technical address on the web. And if you want to shield all network connections in your apps, you can use the “Private Relay” function in the future. It is part of a new iCloud + subscription.
Similar to a so-called VPN, the user is anonymised when he moves around the network with a private relay. In contrast to a classic VPN service (“Virtual Private Network”), however, customers cannot select a virtual location, for example in order to be able to watch streaming content from Germany that is actually reserved for viewers in the USA.
Even with the increased use of artificial intelligence, which Apple is promoting across all product groups, data protection is in the foreground. Because with machine learning à la Apple, data is usually not transmitted to any server, but processed locally on the devices. The new iPhone software announced on Monday should be able to read text in photos, and automatic translation into other languages will be possible on the devices.
The video chat app Facetime is being expanded significantly after the boom of rival services such as Zoom in the Corona crisis. Apple not only competes against Zoom, but also against Facebook. Because the renewed video chat software from Apple now also makes it possible to share film evenings with friends, even though everyone is at home. This works across the Apple product range – iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. And of course it works best when everyone involved is Apple.
At the start of WWDC, Apple also had a message for people who have not yet owned a device with the apple logo. In future, users of Android smartphones and Windows computers will also be able to dial into Facetime video chats. For this purpose, users will be able to be invited to a Facetime chat via a link – as is common with the Zoom video conferencing service, for example. Here, too, Apple attaches great importance to the fact that all connections are protected against spying with end-to-end encryption.
Another message was addressed to Apple’s business partners. For example, manufacturers of home appliances can integrate the Siri voice assistant. Amazon is already taking this path with its Alexa assistance software and Google with its assistant. Together with its competitors Google and Amazon, Apple now wants to promote the common “Matter” standard in the smart home.
With the “Universal Control” function, Apple allows Mac computers and iPad tablets positioned next to each other to be operated with a mouse and keyboard as if it were a device without having to be specially connected. New devices were not presented on Monday.
The health functions of Apple devices are constantly being expanded. In future, the iPhone and Apple Watch will be able to analyze a user’s walk in order to warn them of an increased risk of falling. In the USA, Apple is cooperating with medical institutions so that the health application “Health” can display and interpret current laboratory results directly in the app.
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The new functions ensure that various elements of Apple’s ecosystem are more closely interlinked, commented long-time industry analyst Gene Munster of Loop Ventures on the announcements. That makes it easier to use the products. Apple traditionally makes the new operating systems available in autumn. However, the functions are already being presented so that developers can integrate them into their apps in good time.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and his colleagues on the WWDC stage completely excluded an important topic that directly affects many developers. “The amount of commission Apple is asking developers is the elephant in the room at this year’s WWDC,” Munster said. So far, Apple has collected 30 percent of the revenue from the app developers. For companies with sales of less than a million dollars, the rate is 15 percent.
However, Apple’s app store system is currently under attack – and not just because of the level of revenue sharing. The EU Commission accuses the iPhone group of unfair competition in the business with music streaming apps. The game company Epic (“Fortnite”) wants to achieve with a lawsuit in California that they and other providers can operate their own app stores on the iPhone, bypassing Apple. Tim Cook recently emphasized in court that the App Store is a lucrative platform for app developers and at the same time protects users from attempted fraud. At the WWDC, the corporate leader did not comment on this.