- Apple made its presence felt at CES 2019 with a massive billboard highlighting the iPhone’s privacy features.
- Apple doesn’t attend CES, the world’s biggest tech trade show, as an exhibitor, but many of its Android rivals do.
- The company sees privacy as a major differentiator from its competition.
- The ad was positioned near Las Vegas’ monorail system, whose shuttles are emblazoned with Google ads.
Apple doesn’t officially attend the massive Las Vegas tech show CES, but it’s still making its presence felt at the 2019 edition.
The show kicks off Tuesday, and Apple has taken out a giant outdoor ad on the side of a Marriott hotel in Las Vegas showing the outline of an iPhone and the slogan “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” At the bottom of the poster is a URL pointing to Apple’s privacy policies.
This is Apple flipping the bird at its Android rivals, since the ad plays on fears that the Google-operated mobile system leaks people’s data, be that to governments or hackers.
Apple, on the other hand, has sold itself as the phone maker that respects its customers’ privacy. Apple, for example, made a point of fighting the FBI when the agency asked the company to unlock an iPhone used by a gunman in the 2015 San Bernardino, California, shooting.
And when Facebook was in the spotlight for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly angered Mark Zuckerberg by weighing in. “We’re not going to traffic in your personal life,” Cook said in June. “Privacy to us is a human right. It’s a civil liberty.” Cook has also called for digital privacy laws in the US.
The ad happens to be positioned next to Las Vegas’ monorail system, whose shuttles are emblazoned with ads for Google. Here’s a photo showing an ad for Google’s virtual assistant, with the trigger words “Hey Google,” right next to the Apple ad.
There is a perhaps further unintended irony in that Marriott was affected by a major data breach. The hotel chain announced in January that it had been affected by a major hack, and it said on Friday that hackers got hold of 5.25 million passport numbers.
Apple doesn’t attend CES as an exhibitor, meaning it doesn’t make any announcements at the show and doesn’t appear on the show floor. Its employees, however, do show up to observe the competition.
This wouldn’t be the first time the company has mocked its competitors. An ad targeted at Android users beginning in April portrayed the App Store, with its strict vetting processes, as much safer than rival stores like Google Play.
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