With apologies to (and commiseration with) anyone who might be thinking “can we please just get back to normal mobile news?”, this will be another issue dominated by the IDFA Apocalypse. After all, it's not often that an obscure mobile industry topic receives top billing from major media outlets around the world…but that's what happened this week.

We'll get into all the most recent details below, but the ultimate recap of the past year is actually pretty simple:

  1. Apple announced a plan to dramatically reshape the mobile industry.
  2. The response to Apple's plan ranged from anguish (app marketers and adtech vendors) to ecstasy (privacy advocates and Apple fans).
  3. Apple inexorably carried out their plan, as originally announced, with no concessions (a controlled delay doesn't really count).

And so far, end users love it.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems on the surface. It's always possible this decision will come back to haunt Apple — the lawsuits have already started, and perhaps we'll even see a slow-motion implosion of the iOS app ecosystem if this move undermines some fundamental component of the business model.

But whether you consider Apple's handling of this change to be tenacious and principled, or simply Machiavellian, the reality for the foreseeable future is clear: Apple used App Tracking Transparency to fundamentally shift the narrative. Pretty much any tech company not named Apple now has a potential market perception problem on their hands, and must think carefully about how users will view their stance on privacy-related topics.

Perhaps that's not such a bad thing, and as we all watch the repercussions shake out, I suspect we'll see a lot of soul-searching and more than a few strategy changes over the next year.

Alex Bauer


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