If you're sick of opaque ad tracking and don't feel like you have a handle on it, a new iOS feature promises to give you back some control. With the release of Apple's iOS 14.5 on Monday, all of your apps will have to ask in a pop-up: Do you want to allow this app to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites? For once, your answer can be no.
“From a technical standpoint, there isn’t a whole lot that you can do” to stop such tracking, said Mike Audi, the founder of Tiki, an app that can help you see what other apps are doing with your data.
Yet the privacy change is still significant because it explicitly asks us for consent. If we tell apps that we don’t want to be tracked and they keep doing so, Apple can ban the offenders from its App Store.
At the meeting, Mr. Zuckerberg asked Mr. Cook how he would handle the fallout from the controversy, people with knowledge of the conversation said. Mr. Cook responded acidly that Facebook should delete any information that it had collected about people outside of its core apps.
Mr. Zuckerberg was stunned, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Facebook depends on data about its users to target them with online ads and to make money. By urging Facebook to stop gathering that information, Mr. Cook was in effect telling Mr. Zuckerberg that his business was untenable. He ignored Mr. Cook’s advice.
“One of the things that iPad Pro has done as John [Ternus] has talked about is push the envelope. And by pushing the envelope that has created this space for developers to come in and fill it. When we created the very first iPad Pro, there was no Photoshop,” Joswiak notes. “There was no creative apps that could immediately use it. But now there’s so many you can’t count. Because we created that capability, we created that performance — and, by the way sold a fairly massive number of them — which is a pretty good combination for developers to then come in and say, I can take advantage of that. There’s enough customers here and there’s enough performance. I know how to use that. And that’s the same thing we do with each generation. We create more headroom to performance that developers will figure out how to use.
Manufacturers must do better. Their devices must be repairable by all and kept compatible with software updates for as long as possible, not artificially obsoleted. Consumers should support right-to-repair legislation. Buy what you please, be it a fancy fridge or a smartphone — no one is changing the world by holding on to an iPhone 7 for an extra year — but know to ask three simple questions when you’re shopping: “How long will this last?,” “How will I get it fixed when it breaks?” and “How will I recycle this when I need a new device?” Follow through and get the thing fixed or take it to a trustworthy recycler when it’s time. (Apple’s store employees can help with this step, for instance.)
One way or another — whether your battery eventually degrades, given the 20% hit it takes every 500 charges, or the motherboard just can’t take another day of heat, or, let’s be honest, you shatter the screen on the bathroom floor — you’ll be buying a new one sometime over the next handful of years. Perhaps sooner.
What happens to a planet and its people when technological progress is measured in product cycles. And what happens when there’s no balance sheet to account for the other side of that — when every new product leaves billions of products and accessories and packaging behind.
As ever, you can glean a lot about the direction that Apple is heading in by seeing what kind of things the company focuses on, especially when it’s rolling out new products with new capabilities. Features and technologies that we haven’t seen before can often point at places in which the company has invested significant time and energy—and, in many of those cases, it’s with an eye to more than just a single device. One of Apple’s great strengths, after all, is a “build once, deploy anywhere” mentality that lets them bring the same feature to multiple products.
Apple today announced that it is increasing its financial commitments for US investment, now up to $430 billion over the next five years. Apple said it is now supporting 2.7 million jobs across direct employment, US suppliers and manufacturers, and developer jobs in the iOS app economy.
The $430 billion is set to be spent on various projects including supplier relationships, data centers and research into 5G modem, chip silicon, and artificial intelligence research. Apple also said it has created thousands of jobs in creative industries thanks to dozens of Apple TV+ productions in the United States.
Among the many new habits formed during the pandemic, a reliance on screens as babysitters may be one of the toughest to break. Over the course of the year, I have grown accustomed to cleaning the house, finishing work, folding the laundry and even – if my kids hit a solid addictive high on Minecraft – taking a nap, all without the cost or logistical planning of babysitting. I can put in a solid few hours at the park, safe in the knowledge that when we get home help in the form of two hours of back-to-back three-minute videos will keep everyone happy until dinner.
I doubt any algorithm will be able to figure what I need, and not just what I want.
Thanks for reading.