What's Up With Apple: $10 Billion for Privacy, AR Headset Coming, and More

Since Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) turned loose its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature in iOS 14.5, the cost to Snap, Facebook (now Meta), Twitter and YouTube is nearly $10 billion in lost advertising revenue.

That’s the conclusion reached by ad tech company Lotame, according to a report in the Financial Times. ATT requires that apps get permission from people before tracking their behavior in order to serve up targeted ads. Mike Woosley, Lotame’s chief operating officer, described the practical effect of ATT on advertisers:

Well, now to get 1,000 men you have to show it to 2,000 people, because all of a sudden you don’t know who is a man and who is a woman. And you still only have $5 for those 2,000 impressions. So your acquisition costs doubled and the lost yield is 50 per cent.

Because advertising now costs more, advertisers do less of it. Eric Seufert writes at Mobil Dev Memo that Facebook/Meta could face a “dollar impact” of $8.3 billion year-over-year across the third and fourth quarters as a result of ATT.

Apple CEO Tim Cook continues to pound the idea that Apple “believe[s] strongly that privacy is a basic human right.” Alphabet/Google claims similar high-mindedness.

In an opinion piece posted on the same day, the Financial Times’s Brooke Masters notes that it is “risky to rely on [Apple’s or Alphabet’s] noblesse oblige,” citing Harvard law professor Shoshana Zuboff: “These commitments change with the market winds. The only thing that matters is law.” Zuboff also commented that collecting personal data should be banned along with the sale of advertising based on that data.

Apple’s long-rumored mixed-reality headset is going into production in the fourth quarter of next year, according to a report from two usually reliable sources. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and TF International Securities Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have both claimed that Apple will launch the augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) headset in 2022.

Among the features Kuo expects is support for 5G and a WiFi 6 connection (aka, 802.11ax) that offers more bandwidth and lower latency than a wired connection between the headset and the computer. Although the headset has not been priced (obviously), it could cost around $2,000.

Briefly noted:

Apple has withdrawn the 21.5-inch model of the iMac that is built around an Intel CPU from all its stores. The model had been available in a low-end version at a list price of $1,099. Now, iMacs will be available only in the 24-inch model that was released in April, and that features Apple’s own M1 CPU. That machine lists for $1,299. The Intel-based version will be available at third-party resellers until supplies are exhausted.

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