Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) took place in Cupertino overnight and saw the iPhone giant reveal a raft of new privacy controls designed to prevent user tracking and device identification.
Apple CEO Tim Cook even took the time out of his busy day to reveal the Apple Vision Pro, a “spatial computer” and definitely not a VR headset.
First among those privacy updates were some additional features for the Safari browser. Apple said that a “significant update” would provide “even greater protection against trackers.”
The company said that “advanced tracking and fingerprint protections” would prevent websites from using new techniques to track or identify a user’s device.
Link tracking protections would also come to Messages, Mail and Safari Private Browsing. “Some websites add extra information to their URLs in order to track users across other websites,” explained Apple. But now, when users share links within Messages, Mail and Safari Private Browsing this tracking information will be removed.
These tools add to the AppTrackingTransparency tools that Apple added in iOS two years ago, making it harder for marketers to identify who a user was and personalise messaging and serve targeted ads to them.
“Privacy is designed into every new Apple product and feature from the beginning,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
“We are focused on keeping our users in the driver’s seat when it comes to their data by continuing to provide industry-leading privacy features and the best data security in the world. This approach is evident in a number of features on our platforms, like the major updates to Safari Private Browsing, as well as the expansion of Lockdown Mode.”
Then, rounding out the show, Apple introduced the Vision Pro. The company said it “creates an infinite canvas for apps” and works as more of an augmented reality (AR) headset, letting users do all kinds of boring things such as have VR meetings and work with large, virtual desktops.
“Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before — with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations. It unlocks incredible experiences for our users and exciting new opportunities for our developers,” said Cook.
Apple also said that the Vision Pro would bring new entertainment experiences to bear. It can apparently turn any space into a personal movie theatre with a screen “that feels 100 feet wide” and an advanced Spatial Audio system. Users can watch movies and TV shows, or enjoy stunning three-dimensional movies.
Games are also in the offing for the headset, with more than 100 Apple Arcade games already available. There is even a new App Store for the Vision Pro that could potentially offer ad opportunities for marketers.
“Creating our first spatial computer required invention across nearly every facet of the system,” said Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of the Technology Development Group. “Through a tight integration of hardware and software, we designed a standalone spatial computer in a compact wearable form factor that is the most advanced personal electronics device ever.”