On a billboard outside the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019, Apple has taken a swing at its tech rivals on the issue of privacy. The giant ad reads: 'What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone'.
The commercial references the famous aphorism that ‘What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas’. Apple has strategically positioned the ad on a hotel directly facing the Las Vegas Convention Centre where CES will take place.
Apple has not traditionally had a major presence at CES but this year has decided to use the occasion to differentiate itself from other tech titans such as Google and Amazon, which both suffered reputational damage following revelations around user privacy in 2018.
Apple puts up billboard ad taking a dig at the privacy issues of its competitors https://t.co/Npz4vzK8qa
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) January 6, 2019
Apple highlighting privacy concerns with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant
In one highly publicised incident, an Alexa device covertly recorded a user’s private conversation and sent it to another user. Later in the year, Amazon sent more than 1,700 voice recordings from the personal voice assistant to the wrong user.
Google Assistant was also criticised after it emerged some Android device makers had been tracking user information without the user’s knowledge. The search engine monolith also exploits user data commercially with targeted advertising.
Google’s social network, Google+, was also in the spotlight in 2018 when it emerged that up to 500,000 users had their privacy breached due to a bug that Google did not disclose.
— Inc. (@Inc) January 6, 2019
Apple’s iCloud service had also been hacked
The billboard also includes a link to Apple’s privacy page, which states that “Every Apple product is designed from the ground up to protect that information.” The company’s own privacy record is not unblemished, however, with a number of celebrities having their iCloud accounts hacked and private photos leaked.
Amazon and Google will use CES as a major showcase for their upcoming products.
Apple’s smart speaker product, the HomePod, still lags behind competitors Amazon Echo and Google Home. In November 2018, research firm Canalys found that Amazon had captured 31.9% of the market and Google had 29.8%.