Apple’s work to increase the privacy afforded its users by preventing them from being tracked without their knowledge already had the attention of Mark Zuckerberg. Apple today announced the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with faster 5nm-based M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, up to 96GB of RAM, an upgraded HDMI 2.1 port with support for an 8K external display, faster Wi-Fi 6E, and more. The new M2 Pro chip features a 10-core or 12-core CPU and offers up to 20% faster performance than the M1 Pro chip, according to Apple.
Zuckerberg was accompanied by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, and Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke. The theme of the show revolved around why creators are crucial to the economy, how Apple’s policies could hurt developers and small businesses, and why audio apps are blowing up. Zuckerberg said that he believed that the changes will encourage sellers to go directly via Facebook’s commerce products, as targeted advertising on the platform was deemed less effective.
The problem with that is that over two-thirds of their revenue still comes from the US and Europe. The bigger changes are on iOS because they go farther, and also Apple is able to exert much more control than Google, both by choice. But Google’s goal here is to burnish their reputation for security and privacy without fundamentally changing anything on their end. They will also lose third party data from this change to the ad ID, but they are obviously willing to make that tradeoff, and think others will not as easily get around it. In any event, with the Android 12 opt-out structure, and Android fragmentation, it may not become that important for some time.
Facebook has prepared for the looming Apple changes by introducing more commerce products. But the company appeared to change its tune recently, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claiming during a Clubhouse interview on March 18 that the move might drive more people to use Facebook and Instagram directly to shop for products. That is, Zuckerberg should push his business model into a full-scale war with Apple. If he gets the users into the metaverse, the brands will come, and they will give him advertising revenues like he has never seen before. And that will enable him to subsidize his devices and bring them out at prices that everybody on the planet could afford. He’s been regularly investing in it every year, refining headsets and stoking the VR game and app ecosystem.
Because of fragmentation, Android 12 and beyond will likely not be on a majority of Android devices for about 2 years. So the second strategic purpose of this shift by Google is to advantage themselves over Facebook and other digital ad companies, at least on Android. Google has very quietly added a feature like Apple’s App Tracking crochet striped blanket pattern Transparency to Android 12, but it is opt-out, not opt-in. Earlier in January, Zuckerberg said Apple had become one Facebook’s “biggest competitors” and accused it of stifling competition under the guise of privacy protection. The stock went up as much as 5.1% and could have led to its biggest one-day percentage gain since November.
Zuckerberg has earlier called Apple one of its biggest competitors and urged users to accept tracking “for a better ad experience.” According to reports, Apple is now beefing up its own on-platform ad tools, which have resulted in billions of dollars of revenue thanks to their privileged position right on the Apple App Store. And which get privileged access to Apple users’ data that no other ad networks get.