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Apple finds its next big business: Showing ads on your iPhone

Apple is set to expand ads to new areas of your iPhone and iPad in search of its next big revenue driver.

Remember? Last year, Apple launched a feature called App Tracking Transparency. It allows consumers to decide whether apps can track them across other applications and websites, a key way for marketers to gather data and then serve up more relevant ads.

A bit ironic? Apple is going to, over time, significantly expand its own advertising business. Considering social media giants like Meta Platforms Inc. and Snap Inc. that have claimed to have lost billions of dollars as a result of Apple’s changes.

Another ironic detail: The company’s advertising system uses data from its other services and your Apple account to decide which ads to serve. That doesn’t feel like a privacy-first policy.

What’s next? It’s believed that Apple will eventually expand search ads to Maps. It also will likely add them to digital storefronts like Apple Books and Apple Podcasts. And TV+ could generate more advertising with multiple tiers (just as Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. are doing with their streaming services).

  • The effort to add search ads to Apple Maps has already been explored internally. Such a feature would probably work similarly to search ads in the App Store.
  • In the books and podcast apps, publishers could pay for their work to appear higher in results—or in ads placed throughout the apps.
  • An ad-supported TV+, meanwhile, could offer older shows for a lower price—and help promote the paid offering.
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