As we wait patiently for the iPhone 14 to show up (it should arrive next month), a new report suggests some significant changes could be coming to the software on iPhones and iPads: specifically, more advertising in Apple's own apps.
This comes via the reliable Apple-focused journalist Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, who says that Apple is keen on expanding its integrated advertising efforts. A number of ads already show up in the News and Stocks apps, as well as the App Store.
Those apps could eventually be joined by Apple Maps, as well as the Apple Podcasts and Apple Books apps, according to Gurman. We might also see an expansion into Apple TV Plus content – adverts have already started to appear in the platform's Friday Night Baseball coverage, for example.
More ads, more revenue
The reason for the increase in ads is obvious: Apple wants to make more money from them. The ads that already exist inside iOS, iPadOS and Apple's apps currently bring in around $4 billion every year, as per the Bloomberg report, and the plan is to get that figure into the double digits.
Local businesses would be able to pay to get featured inside Maps, for example, while publishers could pay to get their titles featured more prominently. In line with the existing ads, they wouldn't be open to anyone and everyone.
Exactly when the change might start to happen isn't clear, but it looks unlikely to be this year. It would require some significant changes on the software side, and iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 are just about ready to launch – so keep an eye on next year's Apple software updates for more signs of advertising.
Analysis: Apple could still stay true to its privacy promises
Apple has long emphasized its commitment to user privacy, and often highlighted how different it is from Google in terms of the data it collects and the ads it serves up. Advertising is where Google makes the bulk of its money, whereas Apple has traditionally relied on hardware sales.
You may have noticed Apple cracking down on app tracking in iOS and iPadOS too, stopping advertisers from monitoring users across multiple apps without their explicit permission. This has hit revenues for Facebook, Snap and many other companies.
So how does all this fit in with the potential Apple ad expansion? We've already seen adverts in Apple software, and it's clear that they work differently to the ads you might get on Google – they're more like paid sponsorships than typical internet ads.
In other words, you might see a restaurant get a higher ranking in Apple Maps (with an ad label) – you're not going to see adverts for trainers that you were looking at on Amazon last week. Crucially, it means Apple doesn't need to collect any extra data from its users, which means it can keep its strict stance on privacy.