Apple never has a booth at the world’s biggest tech trade show, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which takes place each January in Las Vegas, Nevada. But this year, Apple has a huge billboard advertisement up at CES 2019, which has managed to create headlines.
The CES ad from Apple puts focus on privacy, and is being seen as a clear dig at rivals like Google and Amazon, who are both present at CES 2019 in a big way.
Apple’s huge banner advertisement posted on the side of a hotel in Las Vegas says, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” The ad also has an link to Apple’s privacy page on the official company website. The advertisement has caught attention for various reasons.
One of course, is that Apple is never present at CES with say a booth, but this advertisement is clearly sending out a message. It also comes at a time after Apple revised its upcoming revenue forecast due to lower than expected sales of the iPhone, especially in the China market, and fewer users opting for upgrades in more developed countries.
CES 2019 will see a big focus on voice-assistants, with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant expected to power more devices, from headphones to newer speakers. Apple’s focus on privacy is nothing new, but the fact that the company has chosen to highlight this as a reminder at CES is very interesting.
Apple’s message appears to be simple: We are not trying to sell your data in order to show more ads. Most major technology companies have come under fire for their handling of user privacy, from Google to Facebook to Amazon. There were reports of smart speakers listening into users’ conversation and sparking of privacy concerns.
Check out the tweets with Apple’s advertisement at CES 2019
Apple never shows up at CES, so I can’t say I saw this coming. pic.twitter.com/8jjiBSEu7z
— Chris Velazco (@chrisvelazco) January 4, 2019
Apple: white on black.
Google: black on white. pic.twitter.com/WoqxzOQ6d7
— Vlad Savov (@vladsavov) January 5, 2019
One of the first things I saw when arriving in Vegas for CES was this Apple ad, trolling the rest of the conference over privacy. Pretty shrewd. https://t.co/KUtqRNN2vP
— Nathan Ingraham (@NateIngraham) January 5, 2019
So, @Apple is making a surprise appearance at #CES2019, calling out the tech industry on #privacy. This giant ad is running across the street from the Las Vegas Convention Center. pic.twitter.com/2bjwB5In8w
— Jason Hiner (@jasonhiner) January 5, 2019
It would be way funnier if Apple put up a billboard saying it was preventing Google and Facebook from listening to you to serve ads https://t.co/Q1i5EYguXr
— nilay patel (@reckless) January 5, 2019
However, not all were impressed by Apple’s advertisement. Zack Whittaker who is a security editor at TechCrunch, posted a series of tweets showing how Apple’s stance of privacy has not been as clean as it would like to present. Check out his tweet below:
Except that this is not true, and shame on Apple for saying this. Over the years, Apple has bent the rules for some companies and looked the other way while others collect as much data as they can — often without your permission.
Here are a few examples. https://t.co/FrEiX02B0y
— Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) January 5, 2019
Still, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been very vocal about user privacy in recent times. Last October, Cook had said that there was need for a federal law on user privacy in the US, and lauded the European Union for its GDPR rules.
Cook during his keynote address at the annual International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners at Brussels, Belgium back in October 2018, said that, “We at Apple are in full support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States, noting that privacy is a fundamental human right.
He also called on tech companies to essentially to “deidentify customer data or not to collect it in the first place.” He had also said that users should always know what data is being collected and what it is being collected for and that the company should give users right to access to get a copy of all their personal data, including the option to delete it.