Apple may be a $2 trillion company that makes some of the most in-demand products in the world, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t always on the lookout for new revenue streams. And I think I found it: ads.
Apple recently began running display ads in its News and Stocks apps, whether you subscribe to News+ or not. You will still see ads in the Today tab of the News app and in the Stocks news feed, even if they are labeled as Subscriber Edition. Apple uses its own advertising platform to display ads that are obvious but not overly intrusive and are labeled with a small “ad” in the bottom right corner. While writing this article, we received ads for Motley Fool and Brilliant Earth jewelry.
Apple says the platform does not track users and is therefore not part of the App Tracking Transparency popup. Apple’s advertising terms state that the platform “is designed to protect your privacy and does not follow you on apps and websites owned by other companies. This “other companies” part is key: According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple “uses data from its other services and your Apple account to decide which ads to show.”
This is likely to offend third-party app developers who have been struggling with lost revenue ever since Apple launched the ATT system in iOS 14.5. Major developers such as FaceBook have accused Apple of losing billions in revenue due to the inability to track usage outside of their own apps. Apple compliance is kind of a loophole as they have tons of apps and services pre-installed on every iPhone.
However, while there is no Do Not Track toggle, users can disable interest-based ads on their iPhone by going to Apple advertisement tab in Privacy & Security iPhone settings. It won’t disable them, it will only make them more generic.
Gurman suggests that ads, also seen in the App Store’s Today tab, will then appear in Maps and “digital storefronts like Apple Books and Apple Podcasts.” However, he doesn’t think this will be a repeat of the failed iAd system that served ads for third-party apps on the iPhone.